Budget guarantees business rates freeze
SCOTTISH retailers have been spared a sudden return of business rates this summer, thanks to MSPs at Holyrood signing off on the SNP’s latest Budget proposal.
In February, Scottish Government finance secretary Kate Forbes revealed plans to continue 100% relief for non-domestic rates across the retail, leisure, hospitality and aviation sectors – however the SNP’s minority administration requires support from at least one other party each year to pass its Budget.
A deal struck between the Scottish Green Party, Liberal Democrats and SNP ensured the Budget’s success, extending rates relief to the end of the 2021/22 financial year. The rates holiday had previously been scheduled to expire on 30 June.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, welcomed the passing of the Budget.
“Whilst retail and the economy remain within the long shadow of Covid businesses will continue to crave certainty. In that context, reports of an accord having been reached on the Scottish Budget are encouraging, albeit we await the detail. There is much within the Scottish Budget unveiled last month which retailers can support.
“The extension to business rates relief and the support for consumer spending – through the protection of ordinary taxpayers from rises in income tax rates and rises in council tax – are very welcome.”
Kate Forbes said: “We continue to face unprecedented challenges and I have sought to engage constructively to deliver a budget that meets the needs of the nation.
“I would like to thank all parties for the positive way they have participated in this process. The budget addresses key issues raised by every party and I hope all MSPs feel able to support it.
“Every penny made available to us to tackle the pandemic has been allocated.
“These remain difficult times, but this budget puts us on the path to a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland.”