Scottish councils get business rate powers

Councils in Scotland will be able to reduce business rates in their area from 31 October 2015.

Announcing the change in a speech at the SNP conference, Scotland's deputy first minister John Swinney said it would help councils "deliver business growth in their area".

Business rates in Scotland are set centrally but councils get the keep the revenue they receive.

When the changes come into effect councils will be able to reduce business rates from different types of business or areas.

Reaction

The response from the business community has been mixed.

David Martin, head of policy and external affairs at the Scottish Retail Consortium said:

"The current system of business rates has become a tax on jobs and growth and undermines investment in property, especially in town centre and high streets.

"It is, however, a missed opportunity to arrest the cost pressures and structural deficiencies in the system which undermine existing businesses and holds back new investment."

David Watt, executive director of Institute of Directors Scotland, said:

"The deputy first minister's announcement will be warmly welcomed by businesses across Scotland.

"We hope this new deal will pave the way for councils to use these new powers to attract businesses, encourage start-ups in new industries, and regenerate high streets."

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