According to the alliance, “The cost of doing business in Scotland is skyrocketing and the near-term economic outlook is weak.”
With the business tax already at its highest point in 23 years, Scottish businesses are taking a hit and this is being passed on to consumers.
Helps ease the load
Ahead of the Scottish government budget, organizations representing a broad section of Scottish industry and commerce sent a letter to Swinney, asking for his help. “companies with the cost crisis [and] help ease the burden at this difficult time.”
The Budget will be released on December 15 and is expected to set the business rate and associated reliefs and thresholds for the 2023-24 fiscal year.
In UK Government Autumn Statement,The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, confirmed that the commercial rate in England would not increase next April. The coalition hopes that “At the very least, Scottish ministers do the same and similarly freeze the main business rate in pounds in the next fiscal year.”
add, “After two turbulent years of the pandemic, the fact is that business conditions remain challenging.”
Keep prices low for customers
Business organizations admit that “There has been progress in recent years on broader aspects of tariff reform, including more frequent reassessments; withholding of the uniform business rate; and a commitment to restore higher property rate parity with England, which should benefit 12,000 commercial premises here in Scotland.”
The letter also acknowledges “The Scottish government, like businesses, is facing its own costs and inflationary pressures at the moment.”
However, it is imploring the Government to refrain from raising the sterling rate in the next financial year, which “ensure that no more Scottish business premises [than those that currently do] pay a higher commercial rate than that applied in the south”.
This will ultimately help you “keeping prices low for customers…would support business investment and keep Scotland competitive for most taxpayers.”
He adds that the alliance has “a range of ideas on how Scotland’s fee system could be improved” beyond the rate freeze.
The joint letter was signed by Scottish Bakers CEO Alasdair Smith and FDF Scotland CEO David Thomson, among others.
Dear Deputy Prime Minister
We are jointly writing ahead of the Scottish budget to ask you not to increase the pound rate in the next fiscal year.
We fully recognize that the Scottish Government, like businesses, is facing its own costs and inflationary pressures today. We also note that progress has been made in recent years on broader aspects of tariff reform, including more frequent reassessments, retention of the uniform commercial tariff and a commitment to restore higher property tariff parity with England, which which should benefit 12,000 businesses here. in Scotland.
Yet after two turbulent years of the pandemic, the fact remains that business conditions remain challenging, the cost of doing business is skyrocketing, and near-term economic prospects are weak. Given the decision taken in the UK Autumn Statement, we request that, at the very least, Scottish ministers do the same and similarly freeze the general business rate in pounds in the next financial year. This would help businesses with the cost crisis, help them keep prices down for customers and ensure that no more Scottish merchants currently end up paying a higher merchant rate than is charged in the south. It would support business investment and keep Scotland competitive for most taxpayers.
Our organizations have a variety of ideas on how Scotland’s fee system could be improved. However, we collectively believe that this practical measure to at least freeze the business rate should be taken in your next Scottish budget, which would be a positive step applicable to all business premises and would help ease the burden at this difficult time.
David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium
Sandy Begbie CBE, CEO, Scottish financial company
Tracy Black, Director, CBI Scotland
Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UK Film Association
Marc Crothall MBE, CEO, Scottish Tourism Alliance
Huw Edwards, CEO, ukactive
Mark Kent, CEO, Scotch Whiskey Association
Sarah-Jane Laing, Managing Director, Scottish Land & Estates
Warrick Malcolm, Director, ADS Scotland
Catherine McWilliam, Nations Director, IoD Scotland
David Melhuish, Director, Scottish Property Federation
Gordon Nelson, Director of Scotland, Federation of Master Builders
Garry Richmond, Director, Print Scotland
Paul Sheerin, CEO, Scottish Engineering
Alasdair Smith, CEO, Scottish Bakers
Colin Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Wholesale Association
David Thomson, Chief Executive, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland
Leon Thompson, CEO, UK Hospitality Scotland