Scottish businesses saved £226m from rates relief last year

A record number of Scottish small businesses have used a relief scheme to cut their rates, according to new figures.

Businesses in Scotland are taking advantage of rates relief

A total of 103,701 firms received rates relief or exemption under the small business bonus scheme so far in 2017/18, up from 102,394 the previous year and a 60 per cent rise since 2008/09.

The amount of relief under the scheme totalled £226 million, up from £180 million in the previous year.

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The rise was attributed to the raising of the threshold for business rates exemption to properties with a rateable value of £15,000.

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The Scottish Government has committed to reviewing the scheme as recommended by the Barclay review of the business rates system earlier this year.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said he planned to write to ratepayers who were potentially eligible for relief under the scheme “to maximise take-up”.

He said: “Since its introduction, the small business bonus scheme has saved businesses in Scotland almost £1.5 billion and offers the most generous package of reliefs available to small businesses anywhere in the UK.

“We are doing everything within our powers to support our economy and make Scotland the best place for business to invest.

“We have gone beyond the Barclay review recommendations with new measures to drive investment.

“In addition to the growth accelerator, where businesses pay no rates for the first year on new or improved properties, we will ensure every new-build property does not pay a penny in rates until it is occupied for the first time.”