The Scottish Government’s decision not to introduce a business rates relief scheme is being felt in a number of venue closures in Scotland.
While hospitality businesses on Scotland’s islands will get 100% non domestic rates relief capped at £110,000 the rest of Scotland’s hospitality businesses will get no relief whatsoever, although poundage has been frozen for all businesses up to a value of up to £51k, announced SNP Finance Secretary Shona Robison in her budget on December 19.
In England hospitality businesses received a 75% rates relief package and Wales has revealed a 40% relief package for hospitality. But only Scottish island businesses will get relief in Scotland due to the “unique challenges ” they faced Shona Robison said.
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said:
“These recent closures demonstrate the enormous economic challenges facing hospitality businesses, which are always more acutely felt during the quiet early months of the year.
“Persistent rising costs over the past two years have already dented business confidence considerably and this has only been exacerbated by the Scottish Government’s shocking decision not to introduce a business rates relief scheme.
“The hope of Government support was one of the last lifelines many venues had left and that was brutally ignored in last year’s Budget. Closures this early in January are just the tip of the iceberg and I truly fear that we will see more to come, as venues struggle to make ends meet.
“Given hospitality’s ability to drive economic growth, create jobs and support communities, it is a great shame that the Scottish Government has not taken the decision to support the sector. Unfortunately, these closures are the end result.
“I would urge it to reconsider its decision and introduce a business rates relief scheme. This would offer much-needed support for businesses and ensure Scottish businesses are not operating at a competitive disadvantage to England and Wales.”