17 September 2018

  |  CBI Scotland

Press release

Barclay review recommendations welcome but out-of-town levy a tax too far for Scots employers

CBI Scotland responds to the consultation on implementation of recommendations from the Barclay Review on non-domestic rates.

Barclay review recommendations welcome but out-of-town levy a tax too far for Scots employers

In a response to the Scottish Government’s latest consultation on business rate reform, CBI Scotland has urged the government to press ahead with key Barclay Review recommendations alongside dumping contentious proposals for an out-of-town or online levy.

An out of town levy would most likely hit a cross section of employers, many such as garden centres, supermarkets and car dealerships with a sustained presence in communities across Scotland. With many of those firms already contending with large business supplement costs and apprenticeship levy contributions, these proposals for an additional levy represent a tax too far and should be scrapped with immediate effect.

On the Barclay Review recommendations, business will particularly welcome the proposed Business Growth Accelerator. Firms of all sizes support the aim of encouraging more investment in Scotland to deliver a broad range of benefits through increased economic activity and job creation, in turn creating more vibrant and sustainable communities.

Similarly, the switch from RPI to CPI is something that business has long called for and the Scottish Government should commit to making this a long-term switch, not a short-term stopgap. Additionally, Scottish rates policy should priorities bringing the Large Business Supplement into parity with England to avoid losing out on potential investments.

On the proposed recommendations, CBI Scotland Director Tracy Black said:

“Business rates have been a bone of contention for far too long. While the Scottish Government should be applauded for taking action to remedy the situation, there’s still some way to go to build a regime that fits the Barclay Review’s goal of supporting business growth and long-term investment.

“While we’re very sympathetic to the plight of high streets up and down the country, clobbering vital employers with a triple tax whammy is not the solution – instead we need smart, creative and sustainable proposals that revive local communities through increased economic activity. The idea for an out-of-town levy is a non-starter and the proposal should be scrapped immediately.”  

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