Ahead of the Scottish Budget on 19th December 2023, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Scotland’s leading business membership organisation, has called for the Scottish Government to prioritise freezing the business rate in the coming financial year.
This follows the recent publication of the SCC’s latest quarterly survey, which indicates that Scottish firms are struggling for growth amidst high costs of doing business and continuing economic uncertainty which is also stifling investment.
Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“Scottish businesses continue to face significant challenges in the face of high inflation, high interest rates, increasing economic uncertainty and persistent labour shortages.
“Concerningly, businesses now share the view that Scotland has become a more difficult place to do business than at any point in recent memory. Our most recent economic survey demonstrates the consequences of this trend, with a record number of firms in Scotland reporting a pause in investment.
“Business rates continues to be a significant part of that cost of doing business in Scotland, with the business rate at a 24-year high and a fifth higher than at the start of the year. If increased in line with current CPI inflation this could see ratepayers across Scotland face an extra £205 million on their rates bills from next Spring.
“That is why we call upon the Scottish Government to rule out any uplift in the business rate and set out a timetabled plan to lower the business rate permanently to a more financially sustainable level for firms. These actions must also include reforms to the business rates system as recommended by the New Deal for Business non-domestic rates sub-group.”