22 August 2017

  |  CBI Scotland

Press release

CBI Scotland responds to Barclay Review

Hugh Aitken, CBI Scotland Director, has responded to the Barclay review of business rates in Scotland.

CBI Scotland responds to Barclay Review

Hugh Aitken, CBI Scotland Director, said:  

“We are heartened to see that there is recognition of the need to make business rates in Scotland simpler, fairer and more competitive. A business rates regime which better reflects economic reality and can maximise business investment in Scotland is urgently needed. 

“We’re pleased that many of the key issues highlighted by businesses have been addressed in the recommendations. In particular, bringing the large business supplement into line with the rest of the UK would be a major boon for competitiveness.

“CBI Scotland called for more regular revaluations of properties and we therefore welcome the recommendation for three yearly revaluations, in conjunction with the Business Growth Accelerator. This will make rates more responsive to economic conditions and help reduce tax barriers to redevelopment. A separate review of plant and machinery valuations would also be welcome – exempting new investments in plant and machinery has the potential to not only boost productivity but give greater certainty to businesses as they look to make crucial investment decisions.

“The report also notes that consideration should be given to linking inflation increases to CPI and business will now be looking for the Scottish government to take this into account as they consider the review.

“As ever, the devil is in the detail and the fact that any proposed reforms are unlikely to be implemented before the next round of revaluations will mean that business rates remain a contentious topic for businesses for the foreseeable future.

“Business rates should be a tool to propel investment and employment in Scotland, enabling businesses to remain competitive. We want to avoid a situation where we are faced with diminishing tax revenues as a result of firms changing business models to reduce their commercial property footprint, or moving their operations to lower tax locations elsewhere in the UK or Europe.

“The Scottish government must now seriously consider these recommendations as businesses will be looking for a swift and constructive response."