Colliers International yesterday welcomed the Scottish Government’s plans to implement the vast majority of the recommendations of the Barclay Review on Business Rates Reform.
Calling it a “a move in the right direction for Scotland”, the Colliers team believes Scottish hotel, leisure and catering businesses will benefit from the implementation of three yearly valuations from 2022; an expansion of Fresh Start Relief, a tax relief scheme; and the Business Growth Accelerator, which from next April will relieve unoccupied new properties of paying business rates.
Louise Daly, associate director of rating at Colliers International in Scotland, said: “Although ministers are understandably and rightly wary of implementing some measures designed to raise revenues lost elsewhere, the indication seems to be that all the core measures, designed to make for a fairer business environment in Scotland, will be adopted, and we wholeheartedly welcome that.
“The remit of the Barclay Review was that it had to be revenue neutral, but from a point of view of enhancing and reforming the business rates system to support economic growth and long-term investment and reflect changing marketplaces. That should never have been of prime importance and we therefore urge the Scottish Parliament to back the measures being put forward by the Minister.”
John Webber, head of rating at Colliers International, added: “The Scottish Government is to be commended for reacting to the Barclay Review so quickly. While English hotel, leisure and catering businesses and landlords are still waiting for news on the length or revaluation cycles following recommendations made over a year ago, Scotland has seized the momentum.
“These measures, especially the move to a three-year revaluation cycle, could have a significant effect in terms of making Scotland more business friendly and encouraging businesses in the hotel, catering and leisure trade to set up and settle North of the Border.
“However,” he warned, “Most of these measures will not help such businesses in the very short term and with continued uncertainty over Brexit, the Scottish Government should be encouraged to implement these changes before 2022.”