Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said yesterday he would launch a consultation on a major overhaul of business rates within weeks.
Firms throughout Scotland will benefit from some of the measures he is trying to put in place, both through legislation and “direct intervention”, he said.
Mr Mackay was speaking after a meeting with business chiefs in Aberdeen. They told him rates were an ongoing problem for a substantial number of north-east firms, many of which have seen huge rises in their bills.
The Land Valuation Appeal Court controversially ruled that an economic slump in the region cannot form the basis of appeals on the grounds of a “material change” in circumstances.
Mr Mackay said this was a matter for the independent assessors but he understood why people whose bills rocketed were furious.
“I can see why they would feel frustrated by such a decision,” he added.
Tourism businesses, including many in the north, have also been hit hard by higher bills.
In the wake of the Barclay Review of business rates in Scotland, Mr Mackay pledged to go beyond its recommendations with a set of new reliefs to incentivise investment.
New or improved properties are to be protected from business rate rises for a year under a Growth Accelerator scheme.
Another new measure will ensure no new-build property enters the valuation roll until it is occupied. Mr Mackay’s last Budget also maintained the Small Business Bonus Scheme, which lifts 100,000 properties out of business rates altogether.
Yesterday, the minister said he was intent on bringing about an “overhaul” of business rates to deliver quicker implementation of revaluations and more consistency in the appeals process.
A consultation on his proposals was “a couple of weeks” away, he said, adding: “I have been listening and acting over concerns raised.”