A FURTHER CALL has been issued for an urgent review of the business rates revaluation exercise that has seen many Moray firms indicate that they may need to close.
The Scottish Government have so far steadfastly refused to contemplate action over the revaluation that has seen many small to medium firms facing crippling increases.
While the First Minister and her Finance Secretary stick to the line that it will be a matter for Councils to provide relief for those businesses affected, the local authorities themselves are facing up to massive cuts in services – and say they are in no position to deal with the issue.
Now regional MSP Douglas Ross has joined his party leader Ruth Davidson in calling on the Scottish Government to launch an urgent review into the entire revaluation exercise – and to heed the warning from the Scottish Tourism Alliance who voiced concerns over the increases.
They have insisted that a study is required into the ‘disproportionate valuations’ being imposed on many businesses which have themselves said that imposition of the increases will mean they may have no option but to close.
Mr Ross said: “Over the last few weeks I have been contacted by many local businesses who are worried and angry about the impending rise in their rates and I have highlighted this in Parliament.
“Some of them are facing three or four-fold increases which is the difference between them making a profit, and having to close down. These businesses are vital to our economy, providing much needed jobs in many communities and we cannot afford to see them simply go out of business.
“Many have invested heavily in their establishments and are now being severely punished to the extent that some will not make a living if they have to pay these rates. That’s why we’ve called on Nicola Sturgeon to listen to the voices of these businesses and the Scottish Tourism Alliance and launch an urgent review into these rate increases.
“The amounts that are being asked for are clearly unsustainable and if immediate action is not taken then we risk seeing a huge amount of damage done to our local economy and some fantastic businesses could be lost as a result of these rate hikes.”
This week Moray Councillors will be asked to back a plea with a proposal by two independent councillors – John Cowe and Gordon Cowie – that the Council Leader writes to the Scottish Government outlining the threat to the growing Tourism industry of the rates revaluation exercise.
Among the businesses who have highlighted massive increases in the rates they are expected to pay are the Beach Bar in Lossiemouth and the Cullen Bay Hotel, owners of both insisting that the increase will curtail any further investment and severely damage their ability to continue trading.