Aberdeen City Council’s finance convenor will today write to the Scottish Government to request north-east companies are protected from business rate hikes.
Willie Young says the rates are based on valuations carried out when the city’s economy was in a much healthier state.
And he is warning Holyrood ministers that the region’s competitiveness could be hit
In the letter to finance secretary Derek Mackay he says: “I have been lobbied by members of the business community who have real concerns for their business, and the overall competitiveness of Aberdeen and the north-east as a location for business and a tourism destination following what can only be described as savage increases in business rates across key sectors of the regional economy.
“As the information has been gathered on rents, costs of construction and, for some types of property, accounts or turnover relating to 2015, when the economy of Aberdeen was booming, I am sure you will understand the concerns of businesses that have continuously been making a disproportionately high contribution to the economy of the United Kingdom and Scotland.
“Would you consider giving businesses in Aberdeen transitional relief to help offset the anticipated significant increase in rates?
Mr Young wants to take a group of concerned business leaders to Holyrood to press the case.
“Officers from Aberdeen City Council are attending a briefing with the regional assessor to discuss this later in the month,” he will tell Mr Mackay.
“In addition however, I would like to lead a delegation, to meet with you, from affected businesses and others, such as Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen Grampian Chamber of Commerce and property agents in Aberdeen so that we can discuss proposals on how transitional relief would safeguard economic benefits to Aberdeen, Scotland and the United Kingdom in the long run.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said a small business bonus scheme had been introduced.
She said: “The Scottish Government announced a package of action to reduce business rates as part of the draft budget presented to parliament by finance secretary, Derek Mackay.
“The small business bonus scheme will be expanded from 2017 to lift 100,000 properties out of rates completely, while 8,000 business properties will no longer pay the large business supplement, and the overall business rates poundage – the core tax rate that applies to the rateable value of business properties – will also be cut by 3.7% to 46.6p.
“Aberdeen local authority area will benefit from these measures.”