At the beginning of October, George Osborne announced an intention to return business rates in England to local control, meaning that uniform business rate could be replaced by locally set rates poundages, with councils keeping all rates income collected locally. There are calls from bodies such as COSLA, to replicate this move in Scotland.
If the proposals do ultimately take us back to the old days of local rates, ratepayers could see variations of +/- 20% between council areas, as seen on the adjoining table from 1994, the last year of local rates in Scotland. As with any potential change, there would be winners and losers, but overall we are not convinced that a move to full local rates would benefit ratepayers as a whole.
Following George Osborne’s announcement, the Scottish Government has announced that there is no intention to return to full local rates in Scotland.
John Swinney has however implemented legislation that allows Local Authorities in Scotland to cut business rates and introduce their own rates relief schemes. Its early days yet but we have not yet heard of any authorities introducing any rates schemes.
Rates Poundages 1994/95
District Council Area
Argyll & Bute
North East Fife
Perth & Kinross
Business Rate £
These proposals may provide flexibility for local councils to introduce innovative rates schemes to encourage business activity, although the ability to introduce such schemes may be hampered by budgetary constraints.
We wait to see the eventual outcome but hope it is not the start of a rush to the bottom, for the lowest rates poundages, which could affect local services.
1st April 2015 – Valuation Date for 2017 Rating Revaluation
Summer 2015 – Summer 2016 – Assessors ingathering rental information and formulating schemes of valuation
Autumn 2016 – Issue of draft rateable values to Scottish Government
Autumn 2016 – publication of draft rateable values on SAA website??
February 2017 – confirmation of rateable values, business rate poundage and relevant relief schemes (including transitional relief)
1st April 2017 – 2017 – Rating Revaluation Comes into force
30th September 2017 – Deadline for lodging of appeals for 2017 Rating Revaluation (deadline may be subject to review)
We welcome the opportunity to mitigate your rates liability. For further information, or simply to discuss the above in greater detail please contact:
The Merchants’ Hall
22 Hanover Street
Edinburgh EH2 2EP