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SALTER CALLS ON GOVERNMENTS TO ACT ON KEY TAXES TO BOOST SCOTTISH BUSINESSES
[ 26-09-2012 ]
Addressing the 2012 Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) Annual Dinner, SCC Chairman, Mike Salter, has praised the strength and resilience of the Scottish business community in the face of tough economic challenges on a global scale and has called upon Governments north and south of the border to invest in connectivity and reduce the burden of key taxes, VAT and Business Rates, to assist the recovery and to help Scottish businesses prepare for future success.
Mr Salter will say:
On Business Rates:
“Despite the recession, businesses across Scotland continue to make an increasing contribution to government revenues through business rates.
“Since 2007 this contribution has risen by more than ten per cent. And it is set to rise by an additional £0.5 billion between now and 2015.
“This increase is not without cost. We cannot keep paying more in business rates and at the same time see businesses growing and creating more jobs.”
“Much could be done to revitalise the building and construction sector if more work was exempt from VAT. New houses are VAT exempt. But extensions and refurbishments incur VAT at the full 20 per cent rate introduced by the chancellor more than two years ago. This has added to the problems faced by our construction sector – a major source of employment.
“Mr.Osborne has gone back on pasties and caravans. He should go back on this one, too. To get the economy on the move, construction needs a break on VAT.”
“What we need now is to connect Scotland’s airports to the wider Rail Network. This would be of enormous benefit – for leisure travel as well as for business. It would help reduce road congestion in our cities.
“And as infrastructure projects they have a compelling appeal. London has benefitted greatly from the Heathrow Express. We need similar connectivity in Scotland but not just between our airports and the nearby city centres but to the wider Rail network to connect across the country
“Of equal importance is digital connectivity, and we continue to argue that high speed broadband and mobile data transfer should be a strategic priority.
“The UK and Scottish governments have allocated £212 million towards Scotland’s digital infrastructure. Given the topography and geography of Scotland, we need every penny and more.
“Many areas outwith the conurbations still cannot get a dial-up connection. And with 4G mobile services about to be rolled out, it is worth remembering that ten years after the 3G technology was launched, many parts of Scotland are still awaiting coverage. It is very much the case that it is not just speed but reach too.”