The Scottish Conservatives have appealed for pro-UK voters to unite and use their peach party list votes to “secure our economic recovery” by rejecting the SNP’s plan for another referendum and a ‘cliff-edge tax bombshell.’
On Saturday, Douglas Ross warned that the threat of another referendum and the SNP’s anti-business agenda could “sabotage” Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.
The party published analysis showing that under SNP plans, the average shop or pub would be facing a tax hike from paying nothing at the moment to around £15,000 in a year’s time.
If the SNP win a majority, businesses would also be facing the uncertainty of another referendum, as Nicola Sturgeon has said she would hold it in the “recovery phase” and Kate Forbes confirmed on Thursday that indyref2 should be held “before recovery.”
Douglas Ross will today highlight the Scottish Conservatives alternative approach to focus on rebuilding Scotland’s economy. The party’s manifesto aims to end unemployment with plans for ongoing rates relief for small businesses, £500 Retrain to Rebuild grants, Job Security Councils, Rapid Retraining Courses, an Enterprise Bill, a Green Growth jobs plan, a new Scottish Exporting Institute, and a ‘Scotland First’ approach to public procurement.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Hitting the average shop and pub with a £15,000 tax bombshell in just over a year would wreck Scotland’s recovery.
“We are already facing a jobs crisis from Covid. If an SNP majority adds a reckless referendum and a cliff-edge tax hike in just 12 months, the economic impact could be catastrophic.
“Nicola Sturgeon is the most anti-business First Minister we’ve had and she’s clearly willing to sabotage Scotland’s economic recovery to fulfil her obsession with another independence referendum.
“The SNP constantly treat business as an afterthought. They take far too long to get cash grants out the door and wait until the last minute to issue vital guidance on restrictions.
“If the SNP win a majority, the consequences for our economy would be devastating. Their misguided approach would cost thousands of jobs and force businesses to the wall.
“The only way to be sure of stopping an SNP majority, stopping another referendum and securing our economic recovery is for pro-UK voters to use their peach party list vote for the Scottish Conservatives. It worked in 2016 and if pro-UK voters unite, it will work again in 2021.”
At the moment, 100% rates relief means businesses are paying no tax.
Under SNP plans, 100% rates relief is due to end in 12 months time, April 2022, alongside an increase in the business rates poundage.
If the poundage rate increases by inflation it will rise from 49p to 49.9p (SFC, Scotland’s Economic and Fiscal Forecasts, 28 January 2021, link).
This would see the average pub (rateable value £33,781) face a tax bill of £16,856.72.
The average shop (rateable value £28,879) faces a tax bill of £14,410.62.
The average hotel (rateable value of £46,915) faces a tax bill of £23,140.59.
The Scottish Conservatives have committed to providing at least £250 million of tax reliefs for businesses next year, including at least a 25 per cent relief on rates for leisure, hospitality, retail, aviation and newspaper sectors and a poundage rate freeze which would benefit every business premise.