The Scottish Government should use business rates to boost growth and jobs, not increase the burden on firms, industry leaders have said.
In a response to a consultation on rates, CBI Scotland has warned having the wrong system in place could force some firms to leave Scotland altogether.
Giving evidence to the Independent Review of Scottish Business Rates, CBI director Hugh Aitken said: “Ensuring a competitive tax environment will encourage companies of all sizes to grow and prosper.
“Scotland has been going through a period of slower growth and is facing an economic adjustment, following the vote to leave the EU, so more than ever business rates must promote and safeguard investment in this country.
“Scotland is competing on the global stage and if the Scottish Government fails to act now it risks losing tax revenue in the long-term.”
In recent months the Scottish Government has doubled business rates for companies of a certain size, a move dubbed the “Scotland surcharge” by the Scottish Conservatives.
That has come at a time when the economy north of the border lags behind that of the rest of the UK on a range of indicators.
Scottish Conservative shadow economy secretary Dean Lockhart said:
“This is a clear instruction from those who know best that government should use business rates to boost investment and jobs.
“Instead, the SNP is increasing the rates to punish hardworking businesses which are the lifeblood of our economy.
“The nationalists seem determined to introduce a Scotland surcharge, and this hike makes Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK.
“That’s no way to encourage growth and opportunity, and the SNP must listen to these views and reverse its damaging changes.”
Notes to editors:
The CBI’s call can be found here:
The wider business community has been critical of the SNP’s business rates hike: