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Scottish Government urged to follow Welsh lead on business rates

UKHospitality Scotland is calling for a commitment to review and reform the out-dated business rates system, which unfairly penalises hospitality businesses.

Equality across Great Britain

The call comes after the Welsh Government decided to investigate changes to its business rates system, including more frequent revaluation cycles, changes to the multiplier, and a review of reliefs and exemptions.

Scottish hospitality businesses are already suffering from a system that is at odds with the rest of Great Britain. Venues have seen their rates increase significantly and currently do not benefit from any relief schemes, which is the opposite to experiences in England and Wales.

Our reaction

UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson

UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson

Our Executive Director Leon Thompson said: “What we are seeing in Wales is the long-term, strategic thinking on business rates that is lacking in Scotland. The current system has long been inadequate and it simply hasn’t caught up to the changes in the economy, particularly the rise in digital sales.

“A commitment from the Scottish Government to carry out a review and reform of business rates would give businesses the reassurance they need that the challenges they face are understood in Holyrood.

“At the moment, that is not the impression they’re getting. The increased business rates they’ve received this year and the lack of relief are outliers when you look across the rest of Britain, putting Scottish hospitality at a competitive disadvantage.

“Business rates are a challenge enough for businesses but coupled with the costly and ill-prepared introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme, the year ahead of us is looking tough for businesses.

We need to start seeing a business-led approach to growth from the Scottish Government that takes a twin-track approach of addressing short term concerns and ensuring long-term, structural issues, like business rates, are bought into the modern era.

“UKHospitality Scotland and our members stand ready as a willing partner in taking such an approach because with the right measures, Scottish hospitality can continue to be a real driver of growth in the economy.”