A commitment to a supportive business environment

Key points:

  • Committed to a highly competitive and fairer tax system, including the most competitive business rates package in the UK
  • Significantly reducing or abolishing business rates for 100,000 premises
  • Implementing further recommendations from the Barclay Review

We know that businesses want a competitive and stable tax system, streamlined and simple information, advice and support, and appropriate and proportionate regulation. We are taking action to deliver this supportive business environment and are committing to a competitive and stable fiscal regime.

Business rates
We continue to deliver the most generous package of non-domestic rates reliefs in the UK, which were worth an estimated £750 million in 2019. This includes the Small Business Bonus Scheme which has significantly reduced or abolished business rates for over 100,000 premises and saved small businesses over £1.7 billion cumulatively since 2008. We also offer a number of reliefs which support investment and growth, such as the Business Growth Accelerator, introduced in 2018. This suspends the non-domestic rates liability for new new build properties until 12 months after they are first occupied. It also ensures that businesses will not see rates increases resulting from property improvements until one year after the work is completed.

The Small Business Bonus Scheme has significantly reduced or abolished rates for over 10,000 businesses saving them £1.7 billion

In 2018 we also introduced Nursery Relief to support the expansion of free early learning and childcare in Scotland.

We have committed, in our Programme for Government 2019/20, to providing a package of support for the tourism sector that will minimise the burden of regulation and associated costs and allow the industry to deliver high-quality, value for money and memorable experiences. This will include consideration of the impact of business rates on the sector.

In 2019 we introduced a new 100% relief for new fibre infrastructure where the fibre has been installed and lit on or after 1 April 2019. This is available for a 10-year period to March 2029, to help meet our aim to deliver superfast broadband access to 100% of premises in Scotland.

In March 2019 we introduced The Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament, which will deliver the agreed recommendations of the independent Barclay Review. The bill will implement key provisions including a move to a three-yearly valuation cycle from the 2022 revaluation, and reforms to the appeals process. The Bill completed Stage 2 on 04 December 2019 with Stage 3 anticipated in early 2020. We will ensure that future tax decisions in the next Scottish Budget maintain and build upon Scotland’s competitive position as an attractive place to do business.

Key resources:

Non-domestic tax rates review: Barclay report

Barclay review of non-domestic tax rates: implementation plan

Regulatory Review Group

Business rates relief