CBI Scotland calls for business rates freeze in Scottish budget


CBI Scotland has called for the Scottish Government to follow the Welsh and UK Government’s lead and freeze business rates in tomorrow’s Scottish Budget.

Scottish businesses face the prospect of rises of around 10% in the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) from April 1st, unless a freeze is implemented by the Deputy First Minister and interim Finance Secretary John Swinney in his Budget statement.

Yesterday the Welsh Government released details of a freeze in business rates as part of a £460m support package for the business community over the next two financial years and it follows Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s decision to freeze rates in England, a decision announced in last month’s Autumn Statement.

Mags Simpson, Deputy Director of Policy, CBI Scotland, said,  “Many Scottish firms are on a cliff edge with business rates set to spiral next April. High levels of inflation mean that the Uniform Business Rate could go up by as much as 10% if the issue is ignored in this week’s Scottish Budget.

“Business rates, as a tax on property values rather than profits, bear no relation to a firm’s ability to pay and firms are already struggling with high energy costs and wages.

“Scotland cannot afford to be an outlier for higher business rates, especially now that the devolved Welsh administration has gone the same way as Westminster and decided to protect businesses and give them certainty to plan their recovery.

“Scottish firms should not be left at a disadvantage to their competitors in England and Wales.”

CBI Scotland believes a recalibration of the tax landscape is also required in the Scottish Budget.

Mags Simpson added: “The size of the challenge to balance competing public finance priorities cannot be borne by spending reductions alone. Higher, inclusive growth is ultimately the best way to ensure long-term benefits to Scotland’s economy”

Category: News
Tags: business rates, CBI Scotland, Scottish budget