Published: 22/08/2017 15:05 - Updated: 22/08/2017 15:10

Rate review is "just tinkering", claims Ross

MORAY MP Douglas Ross has said a review into business rates does not go far enough to help the local economy.

The Barclay Review, led by former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Ken Barclay, was commissioned by the Scottish Government in March last year to investigate the country’s rating system.

In its report, released today, it has recommended targeted reductions in bills to help retain shops in town centres.

In addition, it is calling for the supplementary charge for large business premises to be cut in half, bringing things into line with England

Commenting that business rates are one of the most common issues raised with him, Mr Ross said: "While there is some good news from the review, for many businesses this is little more than tinkering around the edges.

"The hospitality sector which is so important in Moray rightly received a 14.9 per cent cap earlier this year when many were faced with astronomical increases.

"It was hoped that the Barclay Review would offer long term assurances for this industry, but instead we are left with the fact that this current cap expires in March with nothing in its place.

"Unless the SNP government come up with a solution Moray businesses in the hospitality sector will be worried that history will repeat itself next year.

"If our bars, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality providers are hit with the same increases suggested last year, it would almost certainly mean the closure of some of these excellent local businesses and result in job losses.

"We have to ensure that does not happen and the Scottish Government have to explain how they will deal with this issue.

"There were welcome inclusions in the review and I hope the Scottish Government prioritises recommendations to bring the large business supplement in line with the rest of the UK, and the measures to boost town centres and business growth.

"These can all have a positive impact here in Moray."

Amongst the Barclay review’s other recommendations are that leisure centres, private schools and universities should be brought under the business rates system.

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