05 Nov Business rates in Scotland
Local authorities in Scotland have been given new powers to reduce business rates in their area from 31 October 2015, under an order laid in Scottish Parliament by Scottish Ministers. The order, which uses powers under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, which passed in June of this year, means councils will be able to reduce rates bills based on criteria they choose, such as the type of property, its location, occupation or activity.
Announcing the change Scotland's deputy first minister John Swinney in his speech to the SNP's annual conference in Aberdeen said:
'The Scottish Government is committed to giving communities real control over their own futures. This substantial new power, which will give councils more control over business rates, and an opportunity to tailor them to their local area.
Scottish councils will be able to use these powers from the end of this month and, in contrast to England, will be able to retain all the business rates they collect.
With these new flexibilities councils could, for example, use their local knowledge to attract new investment into town centres and help create vibrant communities where people want to live, socialise and do business.'
Business rates in Scotland are set centrally but councils get the keep the revenue they receive. When the changes come into effect councils will be able to reduce business rates in different geographical parts of their areas or for specific sectors or property types.
The Chancellor George Osborne has said that by 2020 local authorities in England will also have more power flexibility when setting business rates.