Business rates relief extended in Scotland

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland relief: businesses 'need reassurance now, in this third lockdown, that the Government still has their back and is invested in them – as the Scottish Government has done,' chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association and the British Beer & Pub Association, Emma McClarkin, says
Scotland relief: businesses 'need reassurance now, in this third lockdown, that the Government still has their back and is invested in them – as the Scottish Government has done,' chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association and the British Beer & Pub Association, Emma McClarkin, says

Related tags: Scotland, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Rishi Sunak

Business rates relief will be extended for Scottish pubs for an initial three months as Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urged to enable a further extension for all pubs.

Scotland's Finance Secretary Kate Forbes pledged to continue relief on non-domestic rates for an initial extra three months funded by money reimbursed by supermarkets. 

Extending the measure further would require additional funding from the UK Government, she said.

The spending plan comes weeks before Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is to unveil the UK Budget, where money for Scotland will be outlined.

Trade bodies have welcomed the news and urged the UK Government to extend the policy.

Cliff edge

“The extension of this relief to avoid a cliff edge in support was the number one ask of businesses,” Forbes said.

“I continue to urge the UK Government to bring forward an extension to their equivalent relief. And should they do so I will use the funding generated to match their extension,” the secretary added.

Her statement comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is visiting Scotland to make a bid for a united UK, which some critics -including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon - lambasted as an unnecessary journey.

Chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association and the British Beer & Pub Association, Emma McClarkin, called on the Chancellor to facilitate further support for pubs.

She said: “Businesses across the country are facing a cliff edge when the rates holiday ends in March. They need reassurance now, in this third lockdown, that the Government still has their back and is invested in them – as the Scottish Government has done."

Battered and bruised

Colin Wilkinson, Scottish Licensed Trade Association managing director, welcomed the spending plan but called for further support from Westminster.

He added: “Our sector is battered and bruised – and the sooner both the Scottish and UK Governments can provide clarity on support and an indication of an exit strategy out of this pandemic the better.”

Robert Hayton, UK president of the real estate adviser Altus Group stressed the risk should business rates return to pre-pandemic levels in the spring.

He said: “If the end of the pandemic is indeed in sight, it has never been more important than now to ensure that viable businesses are supported adequately during these final months. The Chancellor has to avoid a cliff-edge through withdrawing reliefs too early but he also cannot risk repeating the mistakes of the past where support was arbitrary rather than targeted to those most in need.”

Related topics: Legislation

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