Big and small budget story

Small business bonus kept, large business charge up
Swinney announces commercial rates system review

Swinney argued it was reasonable to make “a modest increase” to the Large Business Supplement.
Swinney argued it was reasonable to make “a modest increase” to the Large Business Supplement.
SMALL shops and other businesses with low rateable values learned they were to keep their Small Business Bonus, which has exempted many from business rates and reduced the rates burdens of others, when the Scottish Budget was announced last month.
But large firms were told they would face an increase in the supplement they pay in order to provide the cash for the bonus extension.
Deputy first minister and cabinet secretary for finance, constitution and economy John Swinney announced the little and large effects as part of a budget in which he said he would launch a review of the commercial rates system, set a Scottish rate of income tax that would effectively freeze income tax at current levels and maintain parity with rates south of the border, and freeze council tax.
Retail representative group the Scottish Retail Consortium welcomed many aspects of the Scottish Budget but expressed concern about increases in the large business supplement, which it said could put large retailers in Scotland at a commercial disadvantage to equivalent operations in England.
Under the Small Business Bonus Scheme businesses in properties with rateable values up to £10,000 can get 100% rates relief. Those with rateable values of up to £12,000 can get 50% relief and those with rateable values of up to £18,000 can get 25% relief.
On business rates generally the Scottish Government said its review was intended to help ensure Scotland’s system minimises the barrier to investment.
Responding, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, David Lonsdale, said: “We very much welcome the promised review of business rates. The review heralds a great opportunity to recast business rates for the decades ahead.”
But he added: “The hike in the large firms rates supplement is concerning, it now appears that larger firms operating in Scotland will be paying more in business rates than firms operating in comparable premises down south.”