Scottish Tourism “Reassured” on Rates Recommendations

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) welcome Finance Minister, Derek Mackay’s response to the Barclay Review and are hugely encouraged by his recommendations for the forthcoming draft budget outlined in Parliament today.

The coalition has campaigned heavily for a review of the business rates revaluation methodology as it applies to hospitality and licensed business and has had regular dialogue with Scottish Government to convey our views, concerns and evidence from businesses to mitigate the effects of the valuations that were announced in April and which remain in force.

The group has also been involved in the Barclay Review consultation, again presenting evidence from the tourism and hospitality industry with our concerns about the existing approach to the valuation of hospitality and licensed businesses.

Our voice, the evidence we have presented to Scottish Government and the Barclay Review group and our concerns for the tourism industry have been listened to and acknowledged and we welcome the recommendation of the extension to the current 12.5% business rates cap for hospitality and licensed trade businesses for the 2018/19 period.
The group also presented a strong case for a review of the current valuation methodology and introduction of a system of assessment that is fair, competitive, transparent and takes account of the performance, economic and financial circumstances pertaining to hospitality and licensed businesses. We welcome the Finance Minister’s recommendation that the methodology for calculating business rates continues to be reviewed with the aim of shaping a more equitable system for all businesses, irrespective of size or ownership.

The proposed reduction in the revaluation term from five years to three years to sit more in line with market trends will offer reassurance to our industry during this period of political and economic unknowns as we head towards our Brexit date, as will the announcement of plans to bring forward the tone date to one year before the revaluation date from the current two year period.

The STA will announce the results of its research project ‘Tourism & Hospitality: The Growing Costs of Doing Business’ at its Autumn Conference & AGM on 3 October and have a confirmed date later this month to present the evidence to Scottish Government.

Tourism has been acknowledged by Scottish Government as being “Scotland’s most important industry”; today’s announcement underlines and highlights the government’s support for our industry and acknowledges the importance of tourism as one of the main economic drivers in Scotland.

The STA, BHA and SLTA look forward to continued regular dialogue with Scottish Government, its public agencies and tourism businesses on the business rates issue and indeed the wider issues that have the potential to affect the growth and competitiveness of Scotland’s tourism industry.