The Scottish Budget has eased the burden on already beleaguered licensees by lowering the poundage rate for some medium-sized businesses – a move roundly welcomed by hospitality industry groups.
Setting out the Scottish Budget 2020-21, and hot on the heels of MSPs deciding against scrapping the Uniform Business rate in Scotland , late stand-in Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes announced that more than 95% of properties will pay a lower poundage in business rates than the rest of the UK.
There will be business rates relief of £744m in 2020/21 and an intermediate property rate will take more businesses out of the higher rate.
CBI Scotland Director Tracy Black called it “a step in the right direction”, while UKHospitality Executive Director for Scotland Willie Macleod welcomed it, as well as Forbes’ announcement on funding for ‘city growth’ deals.
He said, “The decision to introduce a new intermediate rate on properties with a rateable value between £51,000 and £95,000 will provide much-needed relief for thousands of Scottish businesses, but we hope it is a first step to reducing the unfair burden on all hospitality businesses.
“We also welcome the £201 million that has been set aside for city funding and growth deals, which will provide a boost to Scotland’s cities, helping to attract both domestic and international tourists.”
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of The Scottish Tourism Alliance, welcomed both moves, and was “particularly encouraged” by the Scottish government’s pledge to invest in infrastructure.
He said, “Our connectivity, transport and infrastructure is without a doubt one of the most important areas which has lacked sustained investment; it is absolutely critical that this continues to be a priority policy if we are to deliver the vision of the future strategy of being the world leaders in 21st century tourism.”