Arbroath’s Masterchef star Dean Banks has urged the Scottish Government to follow in Westminster’s footsteps and offer rates relief.
The move for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England and Wales was announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt as part of the autumn statement.
However, Mr Banks, who opened his latest venture, St Andrews bar Dune at the weekend, wants more done to help their Scottish counterparts.
Mr Banks’ businesses also include Temple Lane in Dundee and flagship Haar in St Andrews.
In a video shared with more than 5,000 followers on X, formerly Twitter, he said: “There’s been a 75% reduction in business rates, which is great for the hospitality industry.
“However here in Scotland it hasn’t been given to us. I’m not sure why – it doesn’t really make sense.
“Obviously if the government is offering it there, why can’t our government?
“I just think the Scottish hospitality businesses should rally together. I don’t understand why it’s any different.
“We’ve got businesses all round the country and I don’t understand why we’re not being given this rates relief.
Masterchef star welcomes minimum wage rise
He welcomed the increase of the minimum wage – also announced by Mr Hunt last week. But Mr Banks said it would impact businesses.
Perthshire hotelier Stephen Leckie, who runs Crieff Hydro, said it would cost his business £750,000.
Mr Banks, a finalist on the 2018 edition of MasterChef: The Professionals said: “It’s a great thing the minimum wage is going up.
“But it’s the businesses that are going to pay for it. The government are not supporting us.”
He said he had been trying to contact MPs and MSPs to raise the issue, however, his queries had fallen “on deaf ears”.
Mr Banks finished the two-minute video by saying: “Give us the same as what England and Wales has.”
On social media, the Scottish Hospitality Group said it was hoping rates reduction would feature in next month’s Scottish budget.
Economic challenges ‘underline’ case for business rates relief
Federation of Small Businesses Scotland policy chairman Andrew McRae said: “It’s great news for our fellow small business owners south of the border in these hard-pressed sectors.”
He added similar reliefs should be introduced in Scotland.
“We’ll be pressing this case with the finance secretary as she draws up next month’s Scottish Budget.”
Scottish Government responds
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish budget 2023-24 ensured the lowest poundage in the UK for the fifth year in a row.
“It supports a package of reliefs worth an estimated £749 million, including the Small business bonus scheme (SBBS) which is estimated to take over 100,000 properties out of rates altogether.
“We further estimate around half of the properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors to be eligible for 100% SBBS relief in 2023-24.
“Decisions on non-domestic rates policies for 2024-25 will be made as part of the Budget on December 19.”