Scottish Chambers of Commerce have welcomed the news that over 92,000 businesses in Scotland are benefitting from the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme. However the fact remains that the overall burden of business rates on Scottish firms is set to increase by almost 40% between 2010 and 2015 to an estimated £2.9 billion. Commenting, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The Small Business Bonus Scheme has been an extremely welcome and timely relief to many small business across Scotland and is easing the business rates burden by £154 million this year alone – a saving which will help businesses to maintain cashflow or to invest. Since the scheme was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2008, it has contributed towards the survival and success of tens of thousands of businesses each year.
“However this needs to be viewed in the context of the overall business rates burden, and the fact remains that the Scottish Government’s revenues from business rates have risen from just over £2 billion in 2010-11 to £2.4 billion this year and are forecast to grow to almost £2.9 billion in 2015-16. This is an increase of nearly 40% in just five years and shows that, despite the excellent Small Business Bonus scheme, many Scottish businesses are being hit hard by punishing year-on-year increases in their rates bills.
“The Scottish Government has rightly consulted on the future of business rates in Scotland and has responded positively to a number of the recommendations for reform that have been made by Scottish Chambers of Commerce. However it is time for the Government to take account of the rising burden of business rates for Scottish firms and to act urgently to limit the effects of recent and planned punishing increases.”