1. News
November 16, 2021

Businesses in Scotland ask government for shop rates discount

The retail industry in Scotland employs 230,000 people and accounts for more than a fifth of business rates.

Retailers and a trade union in Scotland have urged the Scottish Finance Secretary for a business rates discount for all retail premises in the next financial year.

A joint letter was submitted by 13 business representative groups and industry bodies to Finance and Economy Cabinet Secretary Kate Forbes.

In their letter, the industry bodies said: “Our organisations have a range of ideas on how Scotland’s rates system could better support the economic recovery in the short and long-term.

“However, we collectively believe one measure that requires to be taken in your Budget is a further discount to business rates in 2022-23 – one that is applicable to all retail premises and reduces the burden for all stores – to reflect the market reality and provide a bridge to the next revaluation in 2023.

“This would support the survival of shops, the jobs they provide directly and in the supply chain, and the vitality of our high streets and retail destinations.”

The letter comes as the Scottish Government plans to present its Budget on 9 December.

Scotland’s retail industry currently has 230,000 employees and has traditionally represented more than a fifth of business rates.

Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: “This is an unequivocal statement from a formidable alliance of Scottish industry and trade unions that urgent action is required to support the health and recovery of the retail sector.

“Hopefully, the Finance Secretary will take heed and act in her Budget next month to reduce business rates for all retail premises.”

In April, data from the Centre for Retail Research showed that almost 190,000 retail jobs were lost in the UK between the first national lockdown last March and the end of this March.

A total of 188,685 jobs were cut in the 12-month period, 83,725 of which were due to major retailers going into administration.