‘Not fit for purpose’ business rates prompts summit call

THE BUSINESS RATES SYSTEM has been slammed as ‘not fit for purpose’ following further revelations over the method of applying a recently announced first-year cap.

Businesses in Moray reacted with fury when many learned that they would be expected to pay up to 300% more in this financial year – prompting many to insist that could easily put them out of business.

The non-domestic rates revaluation row appeared to be calmed when the Scottish Government finally admitted something had to be done – and gave many hard-hit businesses a promise of capping the increase to 12% in the first year.

However, it has now emerged that even those business that qualify are being asked to pay the new rate – and then reclaim a refund.

Following a meeting on Tuesday with the Moray Chamber of Commerce, regional MSP Douglas Ross said that the general feeling is that the system as it stands is simply not fit for purpose.

He said: “I have significant concerns for local businesses who are being forced to pay a huge increase from this month despite the fact that the Barclay Review (A review of business rates in Scotland) will not announce its findings or changes to the current business rates scheme until later in the summer.”

The MSP said that he welcomed a move to invite the cabinet secretary to Moray to hear first-hand the concerns of local businesses.

He said: “I welcome the fact that the Moray Chamber of Commerce agreed with my suggestion to invite Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution to Moray to discuss the local situation directly with the businesses affected.

“I will also be writing again to the Scottish Government about a number of issues which were raised at the meeting. It is clear that too many businesses are continuing to struggle with the rate increases imposed by the SNP Scottish Government.”