Hard-hit Moray businesses to receive their transitional rates relief

Derek Mackay – Finance Minister delivered a face-saving relief package in March.

MORAY COUNCIL HAS cleared up issues relating to delivery of transitional non-domestic rate relief announced by the Scottish Government for prescribed businesses.

The relief has been given in response to increases that were set to hit many Moray businesses such as pubs with increases well in excess of 100% – forcing many to claim that would lead to cutbacks, job losses or even closures.

While the relief only applies to the current year, the Scottish Government have said that will give business owners time to lodge appeals against the decision of the Scottish Assessors Association, who carried out the revaluations announced earlier this year.

Moray Council, however, were unable to immediately apply the transitional rates at the start of the current financial year and sent out bills demanding payment at the full revaluation rate. That brought protests from local businesses and a decision by the local authority to put payment demands ‘on hold’ until they were ready to be processed.

A statement from Moray Council today reveals that the required software is now in place: “It’s taken just two weeks since Moray Council received the required software from its supplier, to test the product and begin processing applications for the 2017 Transitional Relief Scheme.

“Qualifying businesses which are receiving reduced bills as a result of the scheme and have currently paid too much in instalments will also receive a refund on any overpayment. This will only apply to those who’ve been found to have paid too much based on the instalments on their initial rates bill.”

Councillor Cowe – urges businesses not to delay any revaluation appeal.

Businesses will not be issued with an amended bill payable from August 21. That will be calculated on the basis of how much should have been paid under transitional relief, subtract that from what has been paid and refund the difference.

The Moray Council statement added: “Applications for the Transitional Relief Scheme are still being accepted by the Council, who are reminding those who’re eligible to make a claim.

“This will largely affect businesses in the hospitality industry – including hotels and pubs – whose rates have increased by more than 12.5% in real terms following the revaluation of non-domestic rates, which came into force in April this year.”

Chairman of the Council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee, Councillor John Cowe, has been at the heart of finding a fair deal for local businesses affected by the revaluation.

He said: “We have been working hard on this but the problem still remains for those affected businesses when the full revaluation kicks in from April next year. I would strongly encourage businesses who believe their revaluation to have been wrong not to delay in lodging an appeal.”