Record number of Scottish SMEs benefit from reduced rate scheme

Around 89,087 Scottish businesses have benefited from the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) in the past year, Government data has revealed.

The scheme, which provides non-domestic business rates relief or discounts for small businesses in Scotland, has attracted more than 4,000 additional businesses in the past year, an increase from 85,199 in 2011.

Small businesses can benefit from a maximum relief of £4,260 per year, saving £1,536 on average a year.

According to the statistics, it has provided £144 million in relief for businesses in 2012-13, up from £131 million in 2011-12.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland welcomed the figures.

The FSB's Scottish Policy Convenor Andy Willox said that business rates had become a burden for many small businesses prior to the scheme's implementation in 2008.

"The financial crisis and the spirally cost of fuel and utilities have put real pressure on country's army of small firms. This rates relief scheme has given tens of thousands of our smallest firms an inch of breathing space," he said.

Businesses that pay non-domestic rates for properties with a combined rateable value of £25,000 or less can qualify for the scheme, with applications available through their local authority.

The current reliefs available are:

Combined rateable value (RV) of all business properties in Scotland: 2012-13 
 Up to £10,000  100% (i.e. no rates payable)
 £10,001 to £12,000  50%
 £12,001 to £18,000  25%
 £18,001 to £25,000  25% on each individual property with a rateable value not exceeding £18,000