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OFFICIAL FIGURES MAKE MOCKERY OF GOVERNMENT CLAIMS ON BUSINESS RATES

Following the Scottish Government’s response to a Parliamentary Question, in which it has admitted that it is collecting over £150 million in additional Business Rates from Scottish firms this year, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It has taken the Scottish Government eight months to finally admit that, as a result of its axing of Transitional Relief, Scottish businesses are this year paying more than £150 million in additional Business Rates into Government coffers. Far from making Scottish businesses better off, it is now clear that the Government’s decision to remove Transitional Relief is damaging the competitiveness of our economy. It is also clear that these additional revenues would make a relief scheme, aimed at cushioning the blow for those businesses hit with the worst rates hikes, affordable.

“Chambers of Commerce across Scotland have been united in seeking a resolution to the iniquitous situation of businesses having faced rates increases of over 200% this of all years. We have been told repeatedly by Government that most businesses are better off and that the axing of Transitional Relief only affected the few. However the truth is now plain for all to see: Scottish businesses have been asked to pay £150 million more by Government at a time when they can least afford it. Ironically, it also appears that Scotland’s local authorities will not benefit from this increased tax take, as all are facing reductions in their rates allocation this year.

“These new figures strengthen the case for a reintroduction of Transitional Relief before it is too late. The Scottish Government can afford to assist those businesses who have been worst affected over the past year and it is their duty to act in the best interests of our economy.”

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