Lack of action to address an outdated and costly business rates system is holding businesses back, UKHospitality Scotland said today.
Responding to the Ministerial Statement on non-domestic rates, UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said:
“The current system of business rates is holding our businesses back, with the punitive rates they pay preventing investment. It’s clear a new approach is needed if we are to achieve the Barclay Review’s aim of a business rates system that supports and encourages long-term investment.
“We’re hearing from hospitality businesses that their rateable values have increased by up to 50%, which makes the report from the Chief Statistician today, that rateable values are decreasing, surprising. The report does not reflect the reality on the ground, as felt by many of our businesses.
“Instead, increased business rates are reducing the ability of businesses to invest, stifling economic growth and the creation of new jobs. Additionally, businesses are spending thousands of pounds and precious hours on appeals, in an effort to reduce poorly calculated bills.
“The divergence in business rates north and south of the border sees our members pay higher rates here in Scotland than comparable businesses in England. Today’s news that the Scottish Government will not deliver on its manifesto commitment to reduce the Higher Property Rate, bringing it into line with England, is a further illustration of the extra costs hospitality businesses face here.
“The New Deal for Business Group and details of a sub-group to look at non-domestic rates is welcome news. There is much to do to improve the system and UKHospitality Scotland looks forward to engaging with the Business Group and the sub-group on this issue.”