By way of an update, I wanted to set out below what the STA, along with our colleagues from the BHA and SLTA have over a number of weeks and months been doing and continue to do on the industry’s behalf in respect of this issue. Hopefully this will provide you with reassurance that we are not letting what is causing serious concern for industry drift from being front of place in government officials' in boxes and on their daily agenda. With c2500 business being directly affected by significant increases we are committed to continuing to adopt a joined up approach and deploy our resources as best as we can on your behalf.
Wanting to amplify our voice, as there was concern that it was not being heard two weeks ago, I wrote to the First Minister with an ask for an urgent meeting to discuss a solution to the business rates revaluation issue which we now know will have a significant impact on many businesses across our industry unless a satisfactory outcome can be found. The letter has been acknowledged by Finance Minister, Derek Mackay and there is a commitment from him along with his fellow Cabinet Secretaries to meet with us on 22nd February. We have specifically asked that both Fergus Ewing and Keith Brown be at this meeting given their portfolios. We of course we will keep you informed of those discussions .
I have again met with Fiona Hyslop this week and she assured me that she is in regular conversation with Derek McKay and that there is willingness from government to work with industry to help find a solution. The senior tourism civil servants continue to be kept fully up to speed on the feedback we have been getting from the industry and we are sharing the same with other MSPs. We have also written independently to the Convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee in the Scottish Parliament requesting that we be invited to present evidence gathered. The BHA have also requested that they be invited to give oral evidence to the Barclay Commission.
As our conversations escalate it is becoming increasingly important that we are in a position to present robust evidence to those that we meet and as such we strongly urge you (and also ask you to forward this email to anyone you know who is also affected by the business rates revaluation) to complete this very short survey (less than 2 mins to complete) as we will be taking this evidence to our meeting with the Cabinet Secretaries and other MSPs.
Thank you in advance – your response will help strengthen the case for review. We need your voice to be heard.