Bonus scheme review on hold

Pandemic puts brakes on rates reform

The review is due to be conducted by economic think tank The Fraser Allander Institute

THE Scottish Government has announced it will delay the review of the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS).

Businesses in Scotland with a combined rateable value of £35,000 across premises, or a single premises with a rateable value of £18,000 or less are currently eligible for SBBS relief.

The review of the SBBS is due to be conducted by economic think tank The Fraser Allander Institute.

Scotland’s non-domestic rates system has been under the spotlight since March 2016, when former RBS chair Ken Barclay was appointed to lead a commission on business rates.

Barclay’s recommendations included a review of the SBBS’s effectiveness.

The SGF’s Dr John Lee welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to delay the SBBS review

Dr John Lee, head of public affairs at the Scottish Grocers Federation welcomed the decision to delay the SBBS review.

“This is the right decision from the Scottish Government. The impact of the current pandemic on businesses must be taken into account and factored into the review process.

“Overall the Small Business Bonus must be retained and there should be no moves towards making receipt of the bonus conditional or linked to initiatives such as the Scottish Government Living Wage or modern apprenticeships.

“Retailers need to be able to count on the Small Business Bonus particularly as we move towards recovering from Covid-19,” he said.

Retail businesses in Scotland are exempt from paying business rates in 2020 as part of measures introduced by the Scottish Government to reduce the economic impact of coronavirus.