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Business groups welcome rate review

Category: General — Paul Morgan on December 4, 2012

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce and other business groups have welcomed a review into business rates, which has been announced by the Scottish government.

However, concerns have been raised over whether parity with England will be maintained.

The review, according to finance secretary John Swinney, will allow a more transparent system to be established.

The three-month review will assess whether local authorities should be able to enact more control over the rates, according to local conditions. Under its present format, all decisions are made at Holyrood.

He also announced that a revaluation will take place, but not until 2017. Swinney went on to say that it would form the basis of a wider examination of business charges should the country become independent of the UK.

CBI Scotland welcomed the decision, claiming that the majority of businesses in Scotland would benefit from the status quo. However, director Iain McMillan did warn that one sector would be adversely affected; he said:

“Unfortunately for retailers, the exact opposite is the case, as they remain burdened with a Scottish government-imposed supplementary £95m retail rates levy which simply doesn’t apply down south.”

The retail sector has been one of the hardest hit in Scotland, with rates a common subject of debate. Whilst many have found new initiatives to continue operating, including factoring, others have gone to the wall.

Many feel the complex nature of business rates and premiums are partly to blame for the high number of failures.

The review, the CBI said, is a silver-lining which could help to ease the issues.

'Disclaimer: The information contained in these articles is of a general nature and no assurance of accuracy can be given. It is not a substitute for specific professional advice in your own circumstances. No action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a consequence of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.

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