SNP told to scrap high taxes to save struggling firms
SNP ministers are being urged to rethink rules which mean Scots firms pay tens of millions of pounds more in tax every year than their counterparts south of the Border.
The Scottish Tories highlighted figures showing Scottish businesses will have paid an additional £190 million compared to their equivalents in England by the end of this financial year.
It comes as a report warned there has been an “acceleration” in the number of shops closing across Scotland’s high streets.
Research by PWC found an average of two stores close every week as retailers struggle with the growth of online shopping.
Scottish Tory shadow economy secretary Dean Lockhart said businesses continued to suffer under the SNP.
He said: “The SNP has now made Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK for income tax and the highest-taxed part of the UK to run a business.
“It is no wonder that our high streets are struggling and business numbers are falling dramatically across Scotland.
“The SNP must focus on improving the Scottish economy, not imposing unsustainable taxes on Scottish businesses.”
Larger Scottish firms pay more tax than their English counterparts due to the SNP Government’s controversial large business rates supplement, which doubled in 2016.
Official figures show traders north of the Border will have paid £190,776,450 in extra tax since the changes were brought in by the end of this financial year.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said the “Scotland-only surcharge” meant business rates are higher than down south for 22,000 medium-sized and larger commercial and industrial premises.
He said: “This includes 5,128 retail premises, who are having to cough up an extra £14.1m each year.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have taken the decision to support the economy by prioritising small businesses and introducing unique measures like the Growth Accelerator, which benefit all businesses, large and small.
“We provide the most competitive rates relief in the UK, worth around £720m, including the Small Business Bonus Scheme, which alone lifts 100,000 properties out of rates altogether.”
Dean Lockhart said businesses were suffering under the SNP.