UKHospitality Scotland is urging the First Minister to address the multi-million pound increase in business rates that is set to hamper Scottish hospitality this spring.
Ahead of the upcoming Programme for Government, UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson has outlined the need for a commitment from the First Minister that rates will not rise with inflation, in order to avoid heaping further cost pressures on already strapped venues.
The Scottish Government is also being urged to move forward with recommendations from the New Deal for Business Group to review non-domestic rates.
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said:
“After an extremely challenging year for Scottish hospitality with the chaos of the Deposit Return Scheme and ever-worsening cost of doing business crisis, the First Minister has an invaluable opportunity to set out a positive vision for the sector.
“Essential to delivering for hospitality is action on business rates. The expected inflation-linked rates hike in April could deliver a multi-million pound blow to businesses and a commitment from the First Minister that rates will not rise with inflation would give businesses the head-room they desperately need.
“With the vast majority of rates increasing last year and no offer of financial support, unlike in England and Wales, the business rates burden leaves many in a perilous situation and it needs to be addressed.
“Making such a commitment, alongside taking up recommendations to review non-domestic rates, would be a clear show of support to the sector.
“After years of wasted time and resource preparing for the Deposit Return Scheme, the introduction of a tourist tax and new charges on single-use cups, the sector would be grateful for this year’s legislative agenda to simply not include plans that are harmful to hospitality.
“The First Minister spoke of a ‘reset moment’ with businesses upon his appointment this year and, while there has been a shift, this can be cemented in his upcoming Programme for Government with clear action to address the enduring issue of business rates.”