Date lodged: 14 January 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the Scottish Retail Consortium’s call for local authorities to be able to use a portion of the town centres fund for reducing non-domestic rates.
Answered by: Derek Mackay 23 January 2019
The new town centre fund is classified as capital expenditure in line with the UK Government’s Consolidated Budgeting Guidance and can therefore only be used to support infrastructure investment and not to fund current expenditure such as the remission of non-domestic rates. The aim of the fund is to stimulate and support a wide range of investments which encourage town centres to diversify and flourish, creating footfall through local improvements and partnerships.
Local authorities have wide ranging powers to reduce the rates paid by any ratepayer in their area, whilst the Scottish Government is maintaining a competitive business rates package which caps the increase in rate poundage below inflation; ensures that 90% of properties in Scotland pay a lower poundage than other parts of the UK; and supports small businesses through the Small Business Bonus Scheme which lifts small businesses out of rates altogether.