Restaurant business rates capped in Scotland

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurant business rates capped in Scotland

Related tags: United kingdom, Edinburgh

The Scottish finance minister has announced a cap on business rates for hospitality companies following warnings that the sector could be crippled by rising fees.

Derek Mackay said 8,500 restaurants, pubs, cafes and hotels would benefit from the 12.5 per cent cap on any increase.

Business rates are being reassessed for the first time in seven years to bring them in to line with property values, with the changes set to take effect from April.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has previously warned that rising rates bills could have a ‘devastating’ impact on the hospitality industry, forcing some businesses to close.

But yesterday it welcomed the ‘pragmatic’ cap and said it would allow time for a fairer rates evaluation process to be agreed.

"We know that this afternoon’s news will be welcomed by tourism businesses across Scotland, businesses which yesterday were facing serious financial challenges post-April and in many cases, closure and the loss of many jobs," said the STA.

“We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the Scottish Government, its agencies and tourism businesses over the coming weeks.”

The STA, British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) will meet with Mackay on 22 February to discuss a relief package in more detail.

South of the border the government is also facing pressure over the upcoming rates changes, with MPs pressuring Chancellor Philip Hammond to use next month’s Budget to mitigate the impact.

However, the government has insisted the reforms will make business rates ‘fairer’.

"The Scottish Government has listened to our industry and we welcome their recognition of the importance of hospitality and tourism to the Scottish economy," said Willie Macleod, BHA Scotland executive director.

"Maybe it’s time for the rest of the UK to listen to Scotland.”

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