The Oban Times & WEST HIGH­LAND TIMES

The Oban Times - - Letters -

It

is a hard fact of life that we must all pay taxes. It is the price we pay to live in a civilised society where ser­vices are pro­vided for us.

How­ever, the level of taxes we are asked to con­trib­ute must be fair and sus­tain­able. So it must be ob­vi­ous to any­one who has been fol­low­ing the highly con­tro­ver­sial plan to re­view non- do­mes­tic (or busi­ness) rates that the pro­posed new de­mands were nei­ther fair nor sus­tain­able.

The sys­tem used to as­sess how much each com­pany must pay is, it is fair to say, con­vo­luted and com­plex (see page five), and busi nesses, par­tic­u­larly in the hospi­tal­ity sec­tor, have been in touch to say they fear they will be forced to close their busi­ness un­less the new levy is re­duced. Con­sid­er­ing how heav­ily Ar­gyll and the Isles de­pends on tourism, it is a se­ri­ous con­cern.

Derek Mackay’s an­nounce­ment on Tues­day of­fer­ing a new na­tional re­lief for small busi­nesses, cap­ping tax in­creases for ho­tels at 12.5 per cent, has gone some way to al­le­vi­at­ing that worry. But the fight does not stop there, be­cause the re­lief is only for one year, un­til the Bar­clay re­port is pub­lished in July and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has time to as­sess the find­ings.

At a time when the lo­cal econ­omy is do­ing well – es­pe­cially tourism – it makes no sense to bring in swinge­ing in­creases in busi­ness rates. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment must think very care­fully about this re­view.

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