Business rates review up for debate in the Kingdom

Fife Council has launched an online consultation to feed into the Scottish Government’s planned review of the business rates system and is urging local firms to have their say.
It’s encouraging Fife businesses to share their views via an online survey on how changing business rates will affect them.
The move follows the Scottish Government’s announcement that significant changes are to be made to business rates, reliefs and supplements.
Fife Council says it’s gathering the views of companies on key issues as part of its drive to ensure that business rates support economic growth, create new jobs and boost exports.
It claims the survey will enable the Council to understand how these changes will affect the local business community.
Fife Council’s deputy leader and spokesperson for Economy and Planning, cllr Lesley Laird, called for an overhaul of business rates last year. She said: “It’s encouraging that the Scottish Government has listened to our call for a review of business rates, and the business voices in favour of fundamental reform. The business rates system is overdue for review, and we want to ensure that the review helps, rather than hinders, economic growth within the Kingdom.
“The online survey we are running is giving Fife businesses the chance to engage with the review and have their say. This is an opportunity that I hope Fife businesses will take; to have an input into how business rates can better support growth and respond to wider economic conditions.
“I want Fife Council to do everything that we can to help ensure that the reformed system is modern, sustainable and competitive, which is why it’s so important for businesses to play their part by visiting www.fifedirect.org.uk/businessratesconsultation
“We will then share the response as part of Fife Council’s submission to the Scottish Government’s business rates review, as well as use the information internally.”
The Council says it’s important for businesses to think about what the changes will mean for them and is asking firms to think about the following questions:
  • How will the reduction in non-domestic rates empty property relief impact on you?
  • How will the increase in the large firms supplement from 1.3p to 2.6p in the pound affect your business?
These are just some of the questions Council says it’s asking to raise awareness of the changes, and more fully appreciate the impact of the rates review on industry.
The Council is working with the Fife Economy Partnership (FEP), The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Fife Chamber of Commerce to develop Fife’s response to the business rates review.
Eric Byiers, chief executive of Fife Chamber, said: “Scottish Chambers of Commerce have been campaigning for a fundamental review of the outdated business rates system for a number of years. We are pleased that this is now underway and hope that it will lead to significant improvements. I would encourage Fife businesses to put forward their views and share their experience to inform the review process.”
The Scottish Government’s review of business rates will be chaired by Ken Barclay, the former Chair of RBS Scotland. It is expected to be complete by the summer of 2017.
Have your say on the Scottish Government’s business rates review here.