SNP warned last year about “severe” impact of rates hikes

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has said a transitional scheme in Scotland would not be appropriate as it would result in smaller businesses funding reductions. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has said a transitional scheme in Scotland would not be appropriate as it would result in smaller businesses funding reductions. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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The Scottish Government has been accused of ignoring warnings about the impact of a massive business rates increase which has caused anger among many firms.

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There have been claims that companies could face increases of up to 250 per cent in their rateable values and fears many could face lay-offs or going to the wall.

It has now emerged that the British Hospitality Industry was among a number of industry groups which warned Mr MacKay last October about the “severe impact” of the major hikes. The Scottish Retail Consortium also warned it would be difficult for many firms to “absorb the costs” in a submission to ministers.

It has also emerged that more than 20 heath boards warned ministers in a consultation that the costs could be as high as £30 million and could have an impact on “front-line services.”

Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “Once again, we see a Scottish Government so obsessed with its campaign for independence that it has fallen asleep at the wheel on the issues that actually matter to people.”

But the SNP accused the Tories of voting against support for businesses in Moray and Aberdeenshire councils.

“Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories are guilty of the most appalling hypocrisy,” said SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson.