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[ 19-08-2010 ]

Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have reminded the Scottish Government that it is not too late to come to the rescue of businesses struggling to contend with business rate increases.  This year’s rates revaluation has failed to take any account of the recession and Government must act to compensate for this failing.  SCC have been campaigning for a better deal on rates for Scotland’s businesses and have recently called on firms to appeal their valuations before the 30 September deadline.  Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Chambers of Commerce across Scotland have had an excellent response to our call for businesses to appeal against unwarranted rating valuations.  From Dumfriesshire to the Highlands, businesses have indicated their intention to challenge assessments that have led to rates hikes of 50%, 100% and more.
“The Scottish Government’s own figures show that 40% of Scottish businesses are financially worse off as a result of this year’s revaluation, and this is the last thing that our economy needs at a time when our growth rate is flat-lining.  The timing of this revaluation could not have been worse, with valuations being based on evidence at 1 April 2008 – a time when the Scottish economy was still growing and immediately before we suffered five consecutive quarters of recession.  This revaluation takes absolutely no regard of the effects of the worst recession to hit Scotland since the Second World War and, as a result, Scottish businesses will be paying the price for the next five years.
“It is not too late for the Scottish Government to intervene.  In England, rates rises are cushioned by Transitional Relief, whilst in Northern Ireland, the Government has abandoned this year’s revaluation altogether.  Businesses here in Scotland deserve a better deal.  If the revaluation timetable does not take account of the recession then our Government’s duty must be to compensate for this, as other UK administrations have already done.
“With the UK Comprehensive Spending Review looming in October and the Scottish Government planning for future Budgets, our message is clear: Scottish businesses have been dealt an excessive rates burden for the next five years – the Government must cushion the blow now.”