Business Growth Accelerator
On 1 April 2018, the Scottish Government introduced the Business Growth Accelerator (BGA). This relief provides a tax holiday from business rates for new build properties for 12 months after they are first occupied; the relief also ensures that businesses will not see rates increases which result from improvements to an existing property until one year after the work is completed. BGA removes barriers to investment and allows new ventures to get off the ground by removing their rates burden at the initial stages.
Fresh Start relief
On 1 April 2018, the Scottish Government also expanded Fresh Start relief. This provides 12 months of 100% rates relief to all newly occupied properties, with rateable values below £65,000, that have previously been vacant for 6 months or more. This encourages the reoccupation of previously unoccupied property and allows businesses which take on vacant properties to reduce their costs in the first year.
The Scottish Government want to point out that these reliefs are unique in the UK and are aimed to provide a competitive advantage in Scotland at a time when the Scottish Government wants to attract investment. The government reports that discussions with businesses indicate that these reliefs are attractive and encourage businesses to set up in Scotland.
Kate Forbes MSP is Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy.