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SCOTLAND’S POLITICIANS MUST PROVE THEY CAN BE TRUSTED ON TAXES

[ 28-04-2011 ]

As the politicians prepare for the final few days of the Scottish Parliamentary election campaign, Scottish Chambers of Commerce have challenged the parties to work together to deliver a positive change to Scotland’s business rates system over the next five years.  Calling for a full review of non-domestic rates in Scotland, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: 

 
“Scotland’s system of business rates was shown to be unfit for purpose following last year’s rates revaluation.  The abolition of Transitional Relief meant that many businesses were hit by substantial increases in their rates bills – some by over 200% – whilst the transparency and efficiency of the appeals process has been called into question.  To cap it all, this year many of our large retail employers were threatened with additional bills of up to £0.5 million per store, before the Government’s retail levy plans were defeated in the Scottish Parliament. 
 
“Whilst the Small Business Bonus has provided welcome assistance for a number of smaller businesses, the fact remains that many firms are much worse off as a result of changes to the business rates system.  This cannot be allowed to happen again at the next revaluation in 2015 and that is why the next Scottish Government must act quickly to reform the current system of non-domestic rates and implement meaningful change during the next Parliament. 
 
“The new Government must launch an independent, business-led review of Scotland’s business rates system with the aim of protecting our businesses from short-notice excessive cost spikes and ensuring that unreasonable valuations can be challenged in a straightforward, transparent and accountable manner. 
 
“Business rates are one of the few taxes currently controlled by the Scottish Government.  Before additional fiscal powers are granted to Holyrood politicians through the Scotland Bill, it is time for them to prove they can act in Scotland’s economic interests by using business rates to create a competitive advantage for Scottish businesses.”

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