Scottish business rate relief outstrips what’s on offer in England

Fergus Ewing, member of the Scottish parliament and minister for energy, enterprise and tourism, said: “As a result of our investment in supporting businesses, 96,000 properties will be up to £3,000 better off under the Small Business Bonus [Scheme] (SBSS) than their English counterparts and their equivalent scheme.”

Findings from the Scottish government show 96,265 companies benefitted from SBBS in 2014-15, compared to 92,381 in 2013-14 and 64,179 in 2008-09. These businesses received £165m in rate relief in 2014-15, a seven per cent increase on the previous year and an increase of 143 per cent on 2008-09, when the scheme was first introduced.

The growth of the scheme was caused by increases in the threshold for qualification and promotional activity, according to the statistics release. Ewing added he wrote to every eligible business last year to raise awareness.

In 2014-15 there was a further expansion of the type of properties that qualify for the scheme, with the maximum rateable value threshold increasing from £25,000 to £35,000. In 2008-09 the top rate able value was £15,000. However, around 89 per cent of properties receiving relief in the last financial year were in the lowest rateable value – less than or equal to £10,000.

The city of Aberdeen saw the greatest growth in SBBS support, with the number of claimants increasing 165 per cent between 2008-09 and 2014-15. Aberdeenshire and Angus were second and third highest, with the number of SBBS recipients nearly doubling in both local authorities.

The SBBS provides non-domestic rates relief to small businesses in Scotland, with businesses that qualify paying lower or no business rates. SBBS is an application based scheme and businesses that want to take part should apply to local authorities.

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