Hun­dreds of Scot­tish firms fac­ing £5,600 hike in rates bills

Busi­nesses to pay sur­charge in next fi­nan­cial year

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - GARETH MCPHER­SON PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR gm­cpher­[email protected]­courier.co.uk

Pubs and shops are among the hun­dreds of Tay­side and Fife busi­nesses be­ing slapped with a £14 mil­lion tax sur­charge next year.

More than 2,500 firms in the area are set to be hit by the large busi­ness rates sup­ple­ment in 2019-20.

Re­tail­ers said high “gov­ern­mentim­posed costs” come when they are al­ready try­ing to deal with slug­gish cus­tomer spend­ing.

Each Courier Coun­try op­er­a­tion af­fected by the dou­bling of the sup­ple­ment, which was in­tro­duced in 2016, has to pay an an­nual sur­charge of £5,600 on av­er­age from April this year.

It is es­ti­mated the ad­di­tional levy de­mand, which only ap­plies north of the bor­der, will cost larger firms £256m over the first four years of the pol­icy.

In 2019-20, Fife firms will pay £7.7m, Dundee (£3m), Perth and Kin­ross (£2.3m) and An­gus (£1m), ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pub­lished by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment in re­sponse to MSPs’ writ­ten ques­tions.

The Bar­clay re­view into busi­ness rates called for the sup­ple­ment for larger firms to be re­duced.

David Lons­dale, for the Scot­tish Re­tail Con­sor­tium, said: “Restor­ing the level play­ing field with Eng­land on the rates levy must be­come a pri­or­ity, as ad­vo­cated by Bar­clay, as it only serves to make life tougher for re­tail­ers by mak­ing it more ex­pen­sive and less vi­able to main­tain a shop pres­ence on our high streets.”

Firms op­er­at­ing from premises worth at least £51,000 on the rental mar­ket are li­able for the sup­ple­ment.

The ex­tra charge is 2.6p in the pound, up from the 1.3p that ap­plies in Eng­land.

Mid-Scot­land and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser said the SNP has “failed to sup­port Scot­tish busi­nesses by in­creas­ing the tax gap with the rest of the UK”.

He said: “The SNP must re­con­sider the puni­tive large busi­ness rate sup­ple­ment and level the play­ing field for Scot­tish busi­ness.”

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment says it pro­vides the “most com­pet­i­tive rates re­lief in the UK”, in­clud­ing a small busi­ness bonus scheme that lifts 100,000 prop­er­ties out of the rates regime al­to­gether.

It is due to re­port back on its plans for rates re­form be­fore draft leg­is­la­tion is in­tro­duced in March.

MSP Murdo Fraser says the SNP is not sup­port­ing Scot­tish busi­nesses.

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