Scottish business rates to jump by biggest annual rate for 30 years – budget commentary

Barry McEwen (Gerald Eve)

THE Scottish Government has announced its budget for 2024.

Property experts Gerald Eve have run the numbers announced related to business rates and found that smaller businesses will save a reported £37 million on their rates bills.

But medium and larger sized firms will see a £204 million rise in their rates bills, with the Scottish Government announcing these will rise in line CPI September inflation.

Barry McEwan, business rates partner in property expert Gerald Eve’s Glasgow office, said:

“The Finance Secretary’s business rates measures are expected to help some of Scotland’s smallest ratepayers to the tune of around £37 million, but they do nothing for medium-sized and larger companies who must now find an extra £204 million to fund an inflationary hike in their bills.

“The increase in business rates from next year will be the highest annual rise in more than 30 years and couldn’t come at a worse time for firms who are trying to recover from the pandemic, economic uncertainty, soaring inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

“The decision creates a disadvantage for Scottish businesses because rates bills here will be higher proportionally compared to their English counterparts. Add to that the lack of additional support for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which was extended in England for another year, and it is no surprise so many Scottish ratepayers are struggling to compete.”

“We welcome the announcement of the Government to introduce Relief to combat the unique challenges faced by the hospitality industry in Island communities. With 100% relief for hospitality subjects in islands communities, capped at £110,000.”

In Scotland, there are three bands for ratepayers depending on the rateable value (RV) of each commercial property. RVs are calculated based on factors including rents and property values.

By comparison with England, there are two bands – a lower one which was frozen, and a higher one that rose by 6.7%.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also announced last month at the Autumn Statement that a 75% discount for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors would be extended for 12 months.

The Scottish Government scrapped a similar scheme last year.

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