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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-20008: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 19 November 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the impact on Aberdeen of the 2014 oil and gas sector crash, what consideration it gave prior to April 2017 of how the proposed business rates revaluation that year could impact on the city's (a) businesses and (b) economy.

Answered by: Kate Forbes 29 November 2018

The valuation of all non-domestic property, including the revaluation, is a matter for the Assessors who are wholly independent of central and local Government. The Scottish Government has no locus to intervene in that process.

The Scottish Government undertook a thorough analysis ahead of April 2017 to estimate the effects of the revaluation for business properties across the country, including in Aberdeen. In response the Scottish Government put in place a transitional relief from 2017-18 to cap the annual year on year increase in rates bills at 12.5% real terms, for all but the largest hospitality across Scotland and Aberdeen city and Shire offices. This relief is expected to save businesses over £15 million for this year alone. I recently confirmed that transitional relief would be maintained for the next three years, to the next revaluation in 2022. This will deliver an annual year on year real terms cap of 12.5% on rates increases for eligible properties for the full five-year period between the 2017 and the 2022 revaluations.

In addition, we are doing all we can to support the Scottish economy, including the economies of cities like Aberdeen, by maintaining a competitive non-domestic rates regime and the most competitive rates relief package in the UK, worth around £720 million. This includes the Small Business Bonus Scheme, which according to official statistics lifts over 2,200 recipients in Aberdeen city out of rates altogether. Since the Small Business Bonus Scheme was introduced, by this government, it has saved premises in Aberdeen City around £48 million. That £48 million that would have otherwise been paid in tax has been freed up for investment and growth. We have also created powers under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 to allow Councils the ability to offer their own bespoke local business rates relief schemes to reflect the local needs.