Business rates freeze urged by SRC

Scottish retailers facing huge tax rise

Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale.
Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale.

SCOTTISH retailers could face a £43million tax hike after the latest inflationary data from the Office for National Statistics, it is claimed.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has warned about the potential extra business rates bill burden, which would apply from April next year.

The SRC says this is due to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation statistic for September of 6.7%.

This figure is often used to calculate the business poundage rate for the following year and, as a result, could see this massive tax rise arriving on retailers’ door steps come spring 2024.

Inflation for the month of September stayed consistent with the numbers in August, as both CPI and CPIH remained at the same level over the period of four weeks.

Although inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages did dip by 1.4% in September, the ONS said this was offset by the rising transport costs, which has ultimately been put down to the increasing price of petrol.

As a result of this, the SRC is calling on the Scottish Government to freeze any incoming hike to business rates.

David Lonsdale, director at the SRC, said: “Despite the weakness in retail sales, elevated costs and uncertain outlook, it seems a chunky £43million uplift in the business rate is on the cards for Scotland’s retailers next Spring.

“The business rate is already at a 24-year high and a rise of this magnitude would be at odds with the Scottish Government’s recent pledge to use business rates to boost business.”

“It would pose a challenge for retailers and other sectors with a significant property footprint, as well as for retail destinations.

“It’s why we are calling on the finance secretary to rule out any uplift in the business rate in the upcoming Scottish budget.”