United call for retail discount

Industry leaders call for government to do more

Thirteen industry associations have called for a retail business rates discount.

THIRTEEN leading business representative groups have called on the Scottish finance secretary to introduce a business rates discount for all retail premises.

Business groups representing retailers, trade unions and others with “a stake in Scottish high streets” have submitted a joint letter to Kate Forbes MSP – the Scottish government’s cabinet secretary for finance and the economy – ahead of the Scottish Government’s Budget, which is set to be revealed this month.

Signatories to the letter include the SGF, Scottish Retail Consortium and the NFRN.
In the letter, trade associations called for the Scottish Government to offer a business rates discount for the 2022/23 financial year, applicable to all retail premises, “to reflect that market reality and provide a bridge to the next revaluation in 2023.”

The group said that reducing business rates would help to support retailers as they seek to restore vitality to Scotland’s high streets and bring retail destinations back to pre-pandemic trading levels.

The collaborative letter also mentioned findings from Holyrood’s Finance & Public Administration Committee, which revealed many retailers have been dealing with a significant amount of debt throughout the crisis, due to Covid loans and tax, and said that further assistance from the government will be necessary.

David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said: “This is an unequivocal statement from a formidable alliance of Scottish industry and trade unions that urgent action is required to support the health and recovery of the retail sector.

“Hopefully, the finance secretary will take heed and act in her Budget next month to reduce business rates for all retail premises.”