The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) welcomes Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay’s Draft Budget as outlined in Parliament this afternoon.
The STA, along with UKHospitality and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association have campaigned continuously for a review of the business rates revaluation methodology as it applies to hospitality and licensed business and have had regular dialogue with Scottish Government to convey our concerns about the existing approach to the valuation of hospitality and licensed businesses.
Today’s announcement of a cap on business rates increases at below inflation levels is hugely welcomed by the STA, as is Mr Mackay’s assurance that the Scottish Government will proceed with the Barclay Review recommendations and will not introduce an out of town supplement on the basis that this is ‘not right or fair’.
We are hopeful that the commitment to providing local government with a real terms increase in both revenue and capital funding, and a real terms increase in total overall support through a £11.1 billion settlement will provide solutions to many of the issues which are prompting local authorities to seek additional revenue raising powers, specifically in the form of a tourist tax.
The commitment of upwards of £5 billion over the year to improving Scotland’s infrastructure is good news for Scotland’s tourism industry as much of this will be in improving transport connectivity, an issue that the STA has worked hard to elevate as being a critical issue for our sector. We also welcome the £50 million Town Centre Fund to support Scotland’s high streets and improve the visitor experience in our destinations.
The proposals outlined in this afternoon’s draft budget underline the Scottish Government’s support for and understanding of our industry, acknowledging the issues and challenges that we currently face and tourism’s role as one of the most important economic drivers in Scotland.