Finlay Carson MSP

Galloway and West Dumfries

Another budget U-turn on business rates

Official SP Photo 1

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has performed another budget U-turn as he seeks to address Scotland's business rates crisis.

Addressing Holyrood today, he said up to £40 million had been discovered within a budget that had previously been “maxed out”.

It means some sectors in certain areas of the country will have their increases capped at 12.5 per cent, although many others will still have to endure the crippling increases.

Mr Mackay eventually conceded to MSPs that the cap would only be in place for one year, a move described as a “sticking plaster approach” by the Scottish Conservatives.

It’s another surprise discovery of cash by the finance secretary, after he found more than £180 million to appease the Greens in budget negotiations earlier this month.

Galloway & West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson said:

“I can only welcome the total u-turn by the Scottish Government today. However, we must be clear that this is only a sticking plaster on a much larger problem. The entire methodology of non-domestic rates in Scotland must be revisited and I look forward to the outcomes of the Barclay Review of Business Rates in July.

“For weeks I have been receiving correspondence from constituents concerned that the impact of these rate rises could result in businesses closing down. In particular, already struggling hoteliers from Kirkcudbright to Portpatrick, were facing being forced out of business by huge rate increases.

“Given that these commitments have been made for one year only, I think that the announcement today will do little to ease the concerns of businesses in my constituency.”