Economy

Scotland extends rates holiday for another year

Holyrood’s finance secretary confirmed it is extending 100% of business rates relief for the hospitality, retail, leisure, and aviation sectors throughout 2021

The Scottish government has confirmed that it is extending 100% of its business rates relief for the hospitality, retail, leisure and aviation sectors for another year.

Finance secretary Kate Forbes confirmed the extension earlier this week (16 February) in Holyrood, putting pressure on Rishi Sunak to match the extension in England ahead of this year’s budget.

Issues relating to business rates are devolved powers split between Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Forbes said: “When I presented the budget last month I made clear that if resources allowed I would extend 100% non-domestic rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors for all of 2021-22.

“I am now in a position to provide that certainty to business, meeting the number one ask of the business community and demonstrating our commitment to supporting the economy.”

She added: “To ensure the resources are targeted at those who need it most, we are working with Councils to ensure the application process will be live ahead of bills being issued.”

Robert Hayton, UK president of Property Tax at Altus Group, said: “Ending the holiday too early is one material pressure on company finances that risks affecting the recovery from the pandemic now the end is in sight.

He added: ‘The chancellor must use his upcoming Budget to ensure that viable businesses in England are adequately supported through a discerning targeted extension.”

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