By Marcus Leach

The Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary, John Swinney MSP, has confirmed that he will maintain poundage rate parity with England in the coming year.

“The Finance Secretary has made a number of positive announcements on business rates," CBI Scotland’s assistant director, David Lonsdale, said.

"Maintaining poundage rate parity will ensure that firms in Scotland are not put at a cost disadvantage compared to their competitors down south. The decision to allow businesses to defer a portion of the expected uplift in their next bills will provide relief for firms' cash flow at this challenging time.

“It is encouraging too that councils are to be financially incentivised to support economic development in their areas, something we have consistently called for. Councils should ensure any monies generated are directed towards local infrastructure or improving their planning service.

“However it is very disappointing that Ministers seem so determined to put the principle of poundage rate parity to one side in the case of the retail sector, by persisting with their plans for a £110m rates levy on larger retailers. This surcharge will make it more expensive for retailers to operate in Scotland and could deter much needed new investment and jobs. It is regrettable too that the government failed to rule out the introduction of any further additional business rate levies during the remainder of the current Parliament.”

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