The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) met today with Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP and Economy Secretary Keith Brown MSP to gain further clarity around yesterday’s announcement that the increase in the rates payable by hospitality businesses will be capped at 12.5%.
The tourism coalition have campaigned heavily for a review of the business rates revaluation, hailing yesterday’s announcement as a pragmatic move which will now allow the Barclay Review group to report on its findings, and for what the three trade associations hope will be a more equitable process for rates evaluation to be agreed and applied.
The associations expressed their appreciation to the Finance Secretary for addressing what has been a critical and pressing issue for the industry, and for yesterday’s announcement, which has been welcomed by many within the tourism industry. However concern remains around the need for a more permanent solution and for a fundamental review of the way that hospitality businessesare rated and assessed.
During the meeting the group expressed the need for the Scottish Government to provide clarity around the businesses that will qualify for the 12.5% cap and further understanding on how this will be communicated and applied. The associations were were given assurance that this is high on the priority list for Scottish Government.
Today’s meeting marked an important step forward in establishing what will be a more continuous dialogue between the three trade associations and Scottish Government during the next 12 months on the business rates issue and to inform, influence and shape more enabling and competitive policies for Scotland’s tourism industry.
The coalition looks forward to further engagement with the Barclay Review group on 6 March when the associations will offer further oral evidence to follow the presentation of written evidence submitted in October, and to our continued dialogue with the Finance Minister and his team.