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Vital Business Rates Relief must be delivered by Scottish Government for the sector to survive

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The cost of living crisis is having a severe impact on small Scottish businesses, as well as on the household budgets of people across Scotland.

After two years of the Covid pandemic, a majority of businesses in the hospitality sector still remain in a financially precarious position, carrying significant covid related debt and facing energy bills some 300% or more higher than historical norms while consumer spending is also squeezed.

In recognition of that fact, the UK Treasury has provided the vital lifeline of transitional rates relief equivalent to a 75% discount on business rates for businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors for the 2022/2023 financial year. The UK Treasury assures us that this amount has been made available to Scotland through the Barnett formula allowing the Scottish Government to pass on this critical assistance in full.

We welcome previous Scottish Government commitments to pass through all allocated support funds in order to protect Scottish jobs and livelihoods as well as preventing any further deterioration to local high streets and are calling on John Swinney to ensure Scottish businesses are not disadvantaged versus their English counterparts, and receive the full 75% rates discount for the entire 2022/23 financial year in Scotland.

Michael Grieve Chairperson NTIA Scotland:

“Scottish Businesses across the night time economy and hospitality sectors have suffered considerably over the last 3 years. Those that survived the calamitous lockdown through the pandemic are now subject to crippling operating costs which have been impacted by inflation, Brexit related supply costs and market volatility, particularly in the energy sector.”

“The debilitating industrial action across Scotlands’ rail infrastructure, coupled with extreme financial pressures and the uncertainty around customer confidence through the festive period will undoubtedly wipe out a significant number of businesses across Scotland leading into the new year.

“Scottish Government cannot delay or water down this vital support, and must ensure we give every opportunity for Scottish businesses to survive with at least the same level of business rates support provided to those in England”

Gavin Stevenson, Vice Chair NTIA Scotland said;

“This is a watershed moment for the Scottish Government to demonstrate their support and commitment to Scotland’s small businesses, Scottish jobs, and the Scottish economy. Scotland’s small businesses must receive the same business rates support as our counterparts south of the border if we are to survive the current crisis. If this support is not passed through in full the result will be lost jobs, closed businesses, and an astonishing failure of the Scottish Government to protect the Scottish hospitality sector and late night economy.”

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