Scots launch business rates petition

Scots launch business rates petition
The Scottish Government's decision "flies in the face of common sense", said one expert (image ©iStockphoto.com/Francisco Orellana)

By Julie Fisher 12:57PM - Thu 24th January 2013

Scottish businesses are supporting an online petition for the Government to revaluate business tax earlier than planned, it was revealed today.

Businesses including fashion retailer Internacionale are backing the ‘No Delay to 2015 Revaluation’ petition, which opposes the Scottish Government’s plan to postpone a rating revaluation to 2017.

Until the rating revaluation, which has also been postponed to 2017 by Westminster, the Government will continue to calculate business rates based on 2008 property values rather than today’s lower values.

Peter Muir, Director and Head of Rating for Colliers International in Scotland, commented: “The decision to postpone the revaluation by two years rides roughshod over Scottish businesses and the harsh realities they have to face up to.

“For the retail sector, in particular, this could have a devastating impact. Research by Colliers International shows that rental values in Scotland have fallen by 23 per cent on average since 2008 and look to remain low for some time due to the continuing effects of the recession.

But as the Scottish Government follows Westminster’s move to delay changes to business rates which would reflect these decreased rental values, businesses and groups which support them have begun to raise their voices in protest at what they describe as a “stealth tax”.

The British Retail Consortium and its Scottish arm the Scottish Retail Consortium have been fighting for a freeze in business rates for some time, and Scottish Chambers of Commerce has now backed the ‘No Delay to 2015 Revaluation’ petition.

Scottish Chambers of Commerce CEO Liz Cameron said: “It is bad enough that the 2010 revaluation of business rates was predicated upon notional rents immediately before the Scottish economy entered the longest and deepest recession in modern history – a recession which we continue to feel the effects of some five years later – but the decision by the Scottish Government to prolong these false valuations flies in the face of common sense.

“Scotland needs a rating system that reflects the challenges of doing business in Scotland today, not one that is based upon the pre-recession boom years.”

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