More than £8m is being sucked out of the Tayside and Fife economy this year by a twin-pronged tax grab by the Scottish Government.
Thousands of local firms, including family-run hotels and independent shops, must cough up an extra £7.4m a year following changes to business rates.
And Dundee and Fife councils face a combined tax hike of £700,000 for 2016/17 – enough to pay for about 20 full-time teachers – through the slashing of tax relief for their empty properties.
Liam Kerr, the Scottish Conservative MSP, said the hikes come at the “worst possible time” for the local economy.
“At difficult economic times such as these, government should be working to support the local economy. Instead, the SNP introduce punitive tax rises. It is completely the wrong approach,” he said.
Nearly 3,700 commercial properties in Tayside and Fife attract the large business supplement, which was doubled from the rate English firms have to pay in April, as revealed following a question from Labour MSP Daniel Johnson.
Companies based in property with a rental value of more than £35,000 pay the surcharge. A reduction in empty property relief means councils must pay more for some of their commercial premises.
Dundee has 24 properties which will be affected at an annual cost of £309,000. Fife has the same number of premises implicated which will eat into its coffers by £383,000 this year.
NHS Tayside say they are scouring their “large property portfolio” to “establish the full financial implications” of the policy, which also came into force this year.
Alison Henderson, chief executive of the Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce, said businesses and investment in the area are being hampered by the rates system.
A Scottish Government spokesman said their hand was forced by UK Government austerity.
He said the Scottish Government had cut the rates bills for tens of thousands of small businesses in Scotland.
The spokesman said they have treated local government “very fairly” and added: “We are committed to competitive business rates, and have convened an external review to commence imminently – to engage with business and explore how rates can better reflect economic conditions and support growth.”