Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Business leaders join forces to demand ministers abandon plan to give new tax-raising powers to councils

Derek Mackay
Derek Mackay

Giving councils the power to raise taxes on out-of-town firms threatens Scottish prosperity, the country’s most senior business leaders have warned.

Twenty-one organisations have backed a demand for the Scottish Government to scrap a proposal to hand local authorities the power to charge a new business rates levy.

Under the plan, businesses operating on the outskirts of built-up areas or mainly online would be at risk of fresh hikes.

In a letter to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, the captains of industry said the new tax “could ultimately damage Scotland’s competitiveness”.

“We are profoundly concerned with the idea of giving local authorities the ability to levy an additional business rates charge on premises located out of town,” it read.

“We urge you not to proceed with this aspect of the legislation due to the potential impact it would have on a wide-range of vital businesses, many of them major employers in communities across Scotland.”


>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The Courier newsletter


The Scottish Government is consulting on its proposals for reforming the rates system, which are based on the Barclay review.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said a new discretionary power for councils would be “modest” and the “proceeds would be used to support ratepayers in town centres”.

Groups that have signed the letter include Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Freight Transport Association, British Soft Drinks Association, Scottish Tourism Alliance and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation.

One of the signatories David Lonsdale, from the Scottish Retail Consortium, said the message from a “formidable cross-section” of Scottish industry is “clear and unequivocal”.

“Many firms will shudder at the prospect of forking out yet more in business rates, with little guarantee over whether this new local authority set tax will be capped or even how the tax receipts will be deployed,” he added.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said:  “We are currently considering the responses to a consultation on the recommendations of the Barclay Review, which included a proposal to introduce a pilot scheme allowing councils to charge a modest business rates supplement to online or out-of-town businesses in up to three towns.

“The consultation, which closed in September, also sought views on appropriate safeguards for this scheme and a decision will be made following full analysis of the responses.

“We are doing all we can to support the Scottish economy, including maintaining a competitive non-domestic rates regime for businesses.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from The Courier Scottish politics team

More from The Courier