Preserving the Uniform Business Rate

The Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill is progressing through the Scottish Parliament. The Bill is a result of the 2017 Barclay Review, which proposed a number of positive changes to the non-domestic rates system after SCDI’s 2015 Blueprint for the Scottish Economy, From Fragile to Agile: A Blueprint for Growth & Prosperity, recommended fundamental review and reform to support business investment and growth.

However, the Local Government and Communities Committee voted at Stage 2 to support Amendment 9 to the Bill, which would abolish the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) and give local authorities the ability to set the poundage rate, reliefs and any local supplements or levies. This could result in a return to significant variation and fragmentation across Scotland, with 32 different approaches across 32 local authorities.

SCDI today (20 December 2019) submitted our views to the Committee and called on MSPs to preserve the Uniform Business Rate at Stage 3 and pass the Bill without Amendment 9.

It is our view that abolition of the UBR would be:

  • Contrary to the stated objectives of the Bill to ensure a fair, consistent and less complex system of rates on a level playing field.
  • Damaging to the prospects for business investment and growth at a time of economic upheaval and uncertainty.
  • Without proper scrutiny or consultation.

You can read our submission in full below.

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