ONE of Scotland’s largest breweries is calling on its customers to challenge the new rateable value of their business premises ahead of next month’s deadline.
Tennent’s described the higher rates, introduced in April, as a “significant additional burden” on the hospitality sector and is looking for other businesses in the industry to give backing to its opposition.
Many were given a new rateable value, leading to higher business rates having to be paid. However, traders have until September 30 to appeal their revaluation.
It has been argued the Scottish Government’s policy has placed financial strain on Scotland’s hospitality industry – with the likes of Tennent’s arguing that job losses and outlet closures could be a “real possibility once the full effect of the new rateable values hit home”.
Alan Hay, sales director at Tennent’s, said: “The decision by Finance Minister Derek Mackay to cap 2017/18 rates bill increases at 12.5 per cent in real terms – 14.75 per cent in practise – is well documented.
“However, the way in which hospitality businesses are rated and assessed needs to be revisited. An increase of 14.75 per cent is still a significant additional burden in the current environment.
“Tennent’s is committed to supporting the Scottish licensed trade and, as such, is delighted to be able to offer our customers a preferential appeal rate through Shepherd Chartered Surveyors.
“The window of opportunity is fast closing, so we urge customers who wish to appeal their new rateable value, regardless of their outlet type, to email us at email@example.com.”
Gary Louttit, head of hospitality and leisure at Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, welcomed the Government’s 14.75 per cent cap, but said it was only “a short-term measure and the spectre of huge increases in rates bills has not gone away”.
He continued: “The rateable value of a property is the only part of the rates bill calculation that can be challenged, and whatever has happened to the rateable value of a property – whether it has increased, stayed the same or even decreased – appeals should always be seriously considered.”
Experts have also warned that if a business fails to make next month’s deadline, the right of appeal may be lost until 2022. Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, reminded traders to apply for relief from local authorities.
He added: “The SLTA would also remind licensees that they should apply for the 12.5 per cent, plus inflation, capped rates relief which has to be applied for from each council.
“It must be remembered that the cap only applies, at the moment, for one year. In general, if the rateable value of a qualifying property has increased by 19 per cent or more, then the relief should apply, subject to the EU limits.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said it had committed to around £660 million of business rates relief this year.
He added that this figure included capped increases within the hospitality sector and additional targeted support for offices in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
He added that the Barclay Review of business rates is due to publish its report tomorrow and ministers have committed to implement the recommendations