Val­u­a­tion fig­ures at high­est level in 23 years

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Val­u­a­tions in the north­east went up a fifth on av­er­age, while in Scot­land as a whole, they were ei­ther the same or slightly down.

A to­tal of 10,058 premises in the re­gion are un­der ap­peal.

The last rates reval­u­a­tion that had a higher per­cent­age was 1995 when 38.8% ap­pealed, al­though this amounted to 9,501 in to­tal.

By law, all ap­peals have to be an­swered by Septem­ber 2020.

Grampian rates asses­sor Ian Mil­ton, who is also vice-pres­i­dent of the Scot­tish As­ses­sors As­so­ci­a­tion, pre­vi­ously said he un­der­stood the level of op­po­si­tion to the rates reval­u­a­tion.

“Bud­gets do not take kindly to sud­den shocks.

“You have to find a way to smooth the peaks and troughs,” he said.

But he also claimed that Holy­rood of­fi­cials had been sup­plied the fig­ures in 2016 and it had been “quite easy to see the di­rec­tion of travel”.

He sug­gested more fre­quent reval­u­a­tions than the present fiveyear cy­cle might help to pre­vent a re­peat of the present sit­u­a­tion.

Among the key rec­om­men­da­tions of the Bar­clay Re­port were that arm’s length ex­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions (ALEOs) which run cul­ture and sports venues should no longer be ex­empt from pay­ing busi­ness rates.

How­ever the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment de­cided to main­tain the ben­e­fit for ex­ist­ing ALEOs but re­move it from any new or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil fell foul of this change and was forced to scrap its plans for a sports and leisure trust.

The re­port also rec­om­mended in­de­pen­dent schools should no longer be ex­empt from rates.

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