Commenting, SBPA CEO Brigid Simmonds said:
“The SBPA welcomes the publication of the bill and the implementation of some of the measures identified in the Barclay review in 2017. Moving to more regular revaluations, better administration and greater transparency are all steps in the right direction.
“There still remains, however, the need for greater support for Scotland’s pubs, which face a disproportionate impact under the current business rates system. Through our analysis of the 2017 revaluation, it is clear that pubs and the wider hospitality sector remain disadvantaged in comparison to other high street businesses, facing an average bill in 2019/20 over 21% higher than before the revaluation.
“The Government have acknowledged the issue with the 12.5% real terms cap, guaranteed for the lifetime of this parliament, but this remains a temporary fix and a more permanent solution for the industry is desperately needed.
“One of the key recommendations in the Barclay review was the “growth accelerator”, which guaranteed that investment wouldn’t be captured in rateable value for a 12-month period. It helps to remove the current disincentive to invest in pubs, which all too often are then hit by a rates hike. The SBPA have called for this measure to be introduced, but unfortunately this hasn’t been included in the Scottish Government’s Rates Bill.
“Pubs are hugely important to the Scottish economy, supporting over 66,000 jobs and paying over £940 million in taxes every year. They are also a key component of Scotland’s tourism offer and play a huge role in combatting loneliness across the country.
In the last five years, Scotland has lost 340 pubs – without government support, we will lose more.
“We look forward to working with Government and MSPs in delivering this.”