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MSPs renew calls for more Scottish Government business rates relief

Monday March 20th 2017 at 6:24 AM

There are renewed calls for extra support for North East firms affected by the incoming hike in business rates.

Come next month, rates for some could double in a revaluation based on 2015 property prices – with childcare and the oil and gas supply chain expected to bear the brunt.

The Scottish Government has capped increases at 15% for hospitality and those in oil and gas-owned offices in the North East but, despite receiving more money than expected in the UK budget, has not announced plans to do more.

Scottish Conservative North East MSP Ross Thomson is one of those calling for extra money for the two local authorities here, to bolster available support.

He said: “This is not being overplayed, this is not hyperbole.

“This is the correspondence we get day in, day out from businesses. Even again today, in my own inbox, from people who run nurseries and who have businesses in the supply side of oil and gas, who are saying ‘We are getting no help and, if something isn’t done, we’re going to go to the wall’.”

North East Labour MSP, Lewis Macdonald, has echoed the calls.

He told Original 106: “[The 15% cap] is not enough because they don’t help nurseries, they don’t help engineering or service companies with their workshop premises, and that’s where the big increases have been – of 100% or more.

“We want to see that assistance to those businesses, so that all businesses are being treated fairly.”

Aberdeenshire Council has put aside £3 million for business rates relief – while Aberdeen City has allocated the same figure, but says it will only move forward with the scheme if the Scottish Government matches it.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has committed to £660 million of business rates relief next year, including an additional £7.5 million relief recently announced for Aberdeen.

“This is alongside an additional £130 million resource for local government announced last month, including an additional £4.5 million for Aberdeen City Council.”

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