Scottish Chambers of Commerce comment on the Consultation on Barclay Implementation (Business Rates)

Scottish Chambers of Commerce submitted to the recent consultation on non-domestic rates reforms, which closed for responses yesterday, 17 September.  The full response from SCC is available by clicking here.

Commenting on the consultation, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“Scottish Chambers of Commerce welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation, and the Scottish Government’s continuing consultative approach following the publication of the Barclay Review. Our consultation across the Scottish Chamber Network has clearly demonstrated the need for Scottish Government to prioritise fairness, certainty and consistency for businesses, as it continues to reform the non-domestic rates system.  We look forward to continuing this important work with the Scottish Government and other groups as the reform of the non-domestic rates system progresses.”

On the revaluation cycle:

“Our members are calling for a move towards the three-yearly revaluation cycle at an accelerated timetable, with the next revaluation taking place in 2021, with a 2020 tone date, aligning with nations across the United Kingdom.  This will prevent competitive disadvantage for Scottish firms and assure a fairer business environment, faster.”

On the Business Growth Accelerator:

“The NDR system must provide certainty to firms. One way of achieving this is to retain the 12-month period for business growth accelerator relief as a fixed term, or alternatively, a minimum term.”

On the proposed levy for out-of-town or online businesses:

“The proposed out-of-town/online levy is not an appropriate solution to the current challenges faced by high street businesses. Industry specific, sectoral or geographically-based levies which fail to address broader structural challenges which are not adequately targeted by the NDR system must be avoided.”

Transparency for businesses:

“We welcome additional proposals that will provide businesses with additional transparency on the non-domestic rates system. Furthermore, any changes to debt or information collection, and the introduction of associated penalties, must be matched with a commitment to provide ratepayers with significantly enhanced transparency and information around the businesses’ rateable values.”

Fairness for all businesses:

“Any reforms must not inadvertently bias the NDR system against small or medium sized enterprises, or single out any specific sectors. Allowing appeals to lead to higher valuations, or forcing micro-hospitality firms to provide a higher burden of proof for relief, can risk biasing the system towards businesses with more resources or the ability to take greater risks. This will impact the overall fairness of the system and must be avoided.”

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