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.”