Hospitality businesses urged to write to their MSPs about rates relief

English hospitality businesses are benefitting from 75% rates relief – but their Scottish counterparts are not

As the new Scottish Budget approaches, hospitality businesses are being encouraged to make themselves heard over the 75% business rates relief that they have – so far – been denied.

Equivalent businesses in England benefitted from 75% rates relief last year, and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed in his Autumn Statement that the measure would remain in place south of the border for a further 12 months.

Trade body UKHospitality noted that the Scottish Government had been handed additional funding following that Autumn Statement – and is strongly suggesting that this time, ScotGov use its devolved authority over rates to introduce similar business rates relief for Scottish hospitality businesses.

UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said: “With just under two weeks to go to the Budget, now is the time for Scotland’s hospitality sector to come together and impress upon politicians the urgent need for action on business rates.

“It was deeply disappointing that the Scottish Government chose not to reciprocate business rates relief last year and that undoubtedly left businesses worse off. It was a mistake not to use funds to support businesses that are vital to the health of our cities and towns; driving growth and employing millions,” said Thomson.

“Ignoring the burning issue of business rates once again would compound that error and cement the fact that operating a business in Scotland is now unquestionably more difficult than in the rest of Britain,” he warned.

“We’re hearing from businesses that their pubs in Scotland are at least £10,000 worse off than a pub in England. This discrepancy not only makes business survival more challenging but it also means almost zero investment in the future, which stunts any economic growth or job creation. 

“Implementing 75% business rates relief and freezing poundage rates would provide a lifeline for our sector, amid challenging economic times, and allow businesses to invest and grow. I would encourage every business to write to your MSPs and make your voice heard on this critical issue.”

Businesses can access a UKH Scotland webpage that will direct them towards their local MSPs at this link.