A PROMINENT MORAY businessman has hit out at Scotland’s finance secretary Derek Mackay saying he should resign after welcoming the findings of a non-domestic rates review.
The long awaited Barclay Report into the future of how business rates are processed in Scotland was published yesterday – and caused dismay for business large and small in Moray.
Mr Mackay, however, welcomed the findings of the review – but that served only to fan the flames of discontent in Moray where many businesses face having to pay rates increases of up to 230%.
Royce Clark, owner of Grampian Furnishers, said: “I would say that if Derek Mackay welcomes these findings of the review then he should resign – part of his job should be to help businesses or am I missing something?
“He mentions it has taken experts a year and they have consulted businesses, well it is clear they have not been to any of us in the north east who have been affected. I can only assume they have consulted those who are now paying nothing – or those with a small increase.
“The outcome of this report is simply not good enough – I will be contacting our MSP Richard Lochhead to voice my concerns, not just for my business but the many others in our local area, especially our hospitality trade, who no doubt will be facing closure once the current rates cap expires.
“This issue needs to be brought back to the Scottish parliament and a motion put forward for a complete overhaul of the business rates system, not just this tinkering around the edges.”
Another local business owner, Julia Kenny, took to insideMORAY Facebook group to voice her concerns over the review, saying: “When my appeal is heard I will have to try and get below the £15000 as if it is higher we will still be paying 130% more than we did the previous round.
“I am not opposed to paying business rates and I said that in conversation with the valuation office, it is the huge hike and that is bothering me. I do actually think that we should be making a contribution to local government but things are not working the way they are at the moment.”
Pointing out that even the current rates cap does not help her business, she added: “I am paying well above the 14.9% cap due to the changes in the business rate relief and the way the cap is worked out – so am not too happy about that either, have a feeling we are a bit of an isolated case on this one though!”
Another business owner, Donna Melvin, said that she is facing serious issues with the rateable value of her business run from a secluded two-bedroom bungalow in Moray.
The rateable value of her property has doubled – and that would take her over the threshold under which she would qualify for not paying any rates. She said: “It is obvious to me that small business relief will end – and they will then expect me to pay double the rateable value of the property when it comes in.”
Last night Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead posted on social media that he would be studying the Barclay Report carefully and considering how it may affect businesses in Moray before making any comment.
In an Email to the MSP, Royce Clark reiterated his and other business concerns in Moray when he wrote: “I have just read the article on insideMORAY about the review, while I appreciate this is only a summary of the report it seems it is not good news at all for many of myself and fellow business owners in the north east.
“I am perplexed to understand how Derek Mackay is satisfied with the outcome, will you be able to voice the concerns of local businesses once more and put forward a motion in parliament that the outcome of the review is not good enough?”