Experts say it highlights flaws in business rates system
Global real estate services provider Colliers International has warned that the Scottish Government’s £320 million package of support for businesses, to help them deal with the impact of coronavirus, will have a limited impact and amounts to little more than ‘tinkering’ with the system.
Colliers has said that the package, which included different forms of rate relief, will have limited impact if a property is over a certain value, is in an affected sector without targeted reliefs applied or faces longer-term issues, as the new measures currently only apply for one financial year.
Louise Daly, associate director and head of rating at Colliers International in Scotland, said the Scottish Government’s alterations to the ‘material change in circumstance’ (MCC) clause means it can no longer react quickly to take account of economic downturns.
Daly said: “The relief measures being implemented by north of the border, as part of the Covid-19 package, are tinkering with a system that should be able to react through the valuation when matters such as this occur.
“The reliefs should apply short term to help, but the valuation should also be able to react through the appeals process as it did in 2009 in response to the global financial crisis.
“The Scottish Government simply did not engage or listen to business on this matter. We now call upon the Government to revoke section 8B of the Act, before this damaging measure comes into effect, in support of Scottish business and the Scottish economy, which are facing a critical and challenging time ahead.”