Members of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) have reported steep proposed rateable value (RV) increases of up to 269% with the average across the sector at 65% following the rates revaluation. For the significant number of businesses pushed out of the Small Business Bonus Scheme, the real percentage increase can be quadrupled.
Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of the ASSC said “We believe that this level of RV rise will have potentially severe consequences for the sector and is another obstacle to our members competing on a level playing field with accommodation on offer through the ‘sharing economy’. The whole rating system is subject to the Barclay Review, reporting this summer, and the ASSC calls on the Scottish Government to introduce transitional relief until the Barclay Review has been completed. In the meantime, we are urging our members to appeal if they feel that the RV increase is unreasonable.”
According to the ASSC, prices paid for self-catering accommodation have risen by a modest 20% between 2008 and 2015, the period between revaluations. VistScotland’s own figures show occupancy rates reducing from 52% to 48% in the same period, which makes the large increase in draft RVs even more baffling. The new RVs will be effective from 1st April 2017 and businesses can appeal, although the business owner must pay the new rates until their appeal has been heard, which can take years.
David Smythe, Chair of the Board of ASSC Ltd commented: “We have had several meetings with the Scottish Assessors Association and whilst we appreciate the clarity provided on the calculation of the ‘notional’ rent, the average RV increase of 65% is higher than most other industry sectors. We question the validity of the data used as the sample of businesses providing net profit, though bigger than in previous revaluations, was disappointingly small. Tourism is Scotland’s most important industry and these rises are highly damaging. The ASSC has full details of the Assessors' formula for the self-catering industry available at www.assc.co.uk allowing our members to check their own RVs as well as things to consider if making an appeal”
• For self-catering, the Assessors base their valuations on notional rental values using the revenue principle as there is insufficient data across the industry to provide firm evidence for actual rent paid.
• Property classifications and locations have been reassessed. Rates per guest space range from £275 for a 1970’s chalet in a less popular tourist area to £2,000+ for modern properties in principal city locations (with the exception of the of Edinburgh city centre, which has a different set of criteria). Details in the self-catering practice note on www.saa.gov.uk
• There is no guarantee that the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme will continue and although the ceiling rates for qualification have increased to RV up to £15,000 for 100% relief and RV between £15,000 and £18,000 for 25% relief, many businesses are now out of the scheme entirely.
• The majority of ASSC members who responded to a recent survey regarding the proposed RVs felt that the RVs were unreasonable and over 50% plan to appeal.