Derek Mackay climbs down on business rates after outcry

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has reacted to the outcry over business rates rises by promising a cap on increases of 12.5 per cent for hotels, pubs restaurants and cafes.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. Picture: Lisa FergusonFinance Secretary Derek Mackay. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Mr Mackay also pledged support for more than 1,000 offices in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire with increases capped at 12.5 per cent, in recognition of the tough times faced by businesses struggling to cope with the decline in the North Sea industry.

Renewables companies including hydro schemes will be eligible for relief. Mr Mackay confirmed there will free revaluation appeals with no fees or restrictions as are imposed in other parts of the UK.

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In a statement to Holyrood, the Finance Secretary also said the government would work with local authorities to introduce a local rates relief scheme to support key businesses and promised early action on the Barclay review into business rates.

He said he had “listened” to those businesses who had complained April’s revaluation would lead to a massive increase in costs.

But Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Head of Policy for the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Mr Mackay’s announcement today is yet another sticking plaster on the suppurating wound of the unreformed business rates system. Today’s measures will hopefully help some of the businesses affected by the revaluation, albeit only by adding even further complexity to an already fiendishly complicated system.”