21 February 2017

Local MP & MSP Back Scottish Government Rates Relief

Measures Prove SNP Government Will Always Back North-East Businesses

Banff & Buchan SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford and Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson have backed the Scottish Government’s proposals on business rates, after Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced a wide-ranging relief scheme that will offer strong support to businesses across the North-east.

Overall, the complete package of Scottish Government relief will ensure that 60% of businesses in the Aberdeenshire Council area will see either no change or a decrease in their business rates bill – with more businesses being entitled to support through the small business bonus scheme. The Scottish Government had already taken action to reduce the rates poundage to help businesses who have seen a revaluation.

The relief proposals will provide support for hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes, which had seen their rates rise the steepest following the 2015 revaluation. Any rises in this sector will be capped at 12.5% - providing substantial support to the tourism and hospitality industries in Banff & Buchan.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“This announcement by the Scottish Government proves once again the SNP’s commitment to local businesses across the North-east – with the substantial package of support ensuring that many businesses will not see any rise in the rates that they pay.

“The support for the tourism and hospitality sectors is very welcome – after these industries were left facing substantial hikes in their rates bills. The cap of a 12.5% increase provides excellent support to hotels, pubs, restaurants and cafes throughout Banff & Buchan.

“The extension to the small business bonus will see over 100,000 firms across Scotland pay no rates whatsoever, which is a strong package of support for local businesses, and comes in addition to other funding offered in the Scottish Government’s budget, including the £500m Scottish Growth Scheme, and action taken to reduce the rates poundage.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It was frustrating to see the Conservatives on both Moray Council and Aberdeenshire Council reject sensible proposals from the SNP for a local relief scheme – showing that the Tories are only interested in political point scoring rather than actually doing anything to support local businesses.

“I’m particularly pleased that my SNP colleagues on Aberdeenshire Council managed to secure their local relief scheme with the support of Labour and progressive Independent councilors. This now means businesses in the Aberdeenshire area will potentially benefit from both schemes, supporting the local economy at this time.

“This relief package shows that only the SNP are interested in taking decisive action to support communities and businesses, whilst the Tories chase cheap headlines by carping from the side-lines.

“Overall, 60% of businesses in the Aberdeenshire Council area will see either a decrease or no change in the bills that they pay as a result of the Scottish Government’s support – helping to protect jobs and support firms in the North-east. It is time for the opposition parties to put their political opportunism to one side and to get behind the substantial support that the Scottish Government is proposing.”

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