Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie has challenged Jeremy Balfour to oppose proposals that introduce risks and uncertainties for businesses - after 27 business organisations signed a letter raising concerns over an opposition amendment to the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill.
The SNP was the only party which opposed the amendment to the Bill – which would mean that rates would no longer be set nationally and business rates reliefs, including the Small Business Bonus and rates relief for nurseries – would automatically end.
If the Small Business Bonus scheme was abolished, some smaller businesses in Midlothian and East Lothian could face a business rate hike of more than £7000.
Colin Beattie MSP is now calling on politicians from all parties to reverse amendment 9 to the Bill that seeks to end nationwide-rates reliefs and introduce local rates multipliers.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The move to scrap over £308 million of relief - which is strongly opposed by the SNP – could impact more than 100,000 businesses across Scotland, and cost smaller businesses £7,000.
“Abolishing the Universal Business Rate is bad for all businesses. These plans would deliver a blow to businesses in Midlothian and East Lothian and could risk the delivery of vital local services, the work of charities and third-sector organisations.
“Experts and business organisations have now raised concerns over the impact of the proposed changes, warning it could create added costs and deter investment in both Midlothian and East Lothian, and across Scotland.
“Opposition parties must heed those warnings, and backtrack on this disastrous move at the final stage of the Bill – in order to support our economy and make Midlothian and East Lothian the best places for business to invest.”
MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN COUNCILS HANDED NEW POWERS TO TACKLE UNREGISTERED LETTINGS MARKET
Colin Beattie MSP has backed an announcement from the Scottish Government that local councils will be given new powers to licence and limit the number of short-term lets, such as AirBNB.
The number of short-term lets in Scotland has risen dramatically in recent years – but evidence shows that in many tourist hotspots locals are finding it increasingly hard to find homes to live in.
Speaking in Holyrood on Wednesday, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart outlined the SNP’s plans to establish a licensing scheme for short-term lets and a review of the tax paid by the properties – as well handing councils the power to introduce ‘short-term let control areas’ where the number of AirBNB properties can be restricted through planning permission.
Welcoming the announcement, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
“We must strike a balance between the economic benefits of tourism to Scotland and the impact on local communities.
“In Midlothian and East Lothian, and across other tourist hotspots in Scotland, short-term lets such as AirBNB are restricting the number of properties available for those looking for a home to live in.
“The proposals announced by the Scottish Government will give Midlothian and East Lothian councils new powers to control the number of short-term lets in the local community and ensure they make a fair contribution to the services they use.
“The SNP has outlined a robust and proportionate approach to tackling this serious issue – I’d call on my parliamentary colleagues from across Lothian to get behind these proposals and help secure real change for the area.”