Demand for urgent Holyrood statement on business rates

14 Feb 2017

The Scottish Conservatives have demanded finance secretary Derek Mackay addresses Holyrood over the country’s business rates crisis.

Increasing numbers of organisations are protesting at the revaluation scheme, which has seen some pay more than double their current taxation.

Now the SNP has been urged to take action and explain what it intends to do to solve the problem.

Two newspapers are campaigning on behalf of businesses, many of whom say they face closure as a result of the hikes.

A formal request has gone into Scottish Parliament authorities from the Scottish Conservatives for Mr Mackay to give a statement when MSPs return next week.

When challenged on the issue previously, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon merely said there would be an opportunity to appeal for individual businesses.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:

“This revaluation could see businesses across the country going under, it’s as simple as that.

“If that’s not cause for the SNP government to act, I don’t know what is.

“While Nicola Sturgeon obsesses with Brexit and independence, Scottish companies large and small are staring down the barrel of a gun.

“This revaluation is threatening jobs and the wider economy, and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:

“This is fast becoming a crisis for businesses the length and breadth of the country.

“Many say they face closure, while others are being forced to hike their prices to cover these increased costs.

“This is not an acceptable state of affairs, and we need to know what Scotland’s finance secretary intends to do about this.

“It’s time for the SNP to prove it’s not an anti-business government and take some meaningful action to help these businesses which are the lifeblood of our economy.”

The Scottish Conservatives have raised the issue of business rates on a number of occasions since the revaluation: http://www.scottishconservatives.com/2017/02/ruth-calls-for-immediate-review-of-revaluation-of-business-rates/ http://www.scottishconservatives.com/2016/09/leading-businesses-appeal-to-snp-over-unfair-rates-hike/

The Herald launched a campaign today on the issue: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15089947.Can_t_pay__won_t_pay__Licensed_trade_to_fight__new_Poll_Tax__following_closure_fears/