Thousands of north-east firms have appealed their business rates valuations with many more being processed, just days before the deadline closes.
Across Grampian, 8,897 businesses in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray have appealed their rateable value (RV), ahead of the deadline closing tomorrow, according to figures from Grampian Assessors office.
This equates to more than 34% of all properties paying rates appealing their values and amounts to 1,700 more applications than were made in the last revaluation in 2010.
It’s understood 5,533 firms in the city have already submitted appeals – compared with 3,643 in 2010 – although not all of these have been counted in the assessor figures.
Anger erupted over the rates system when bills with increases of up to 250% started landing on doorsteps.
Many people in the north-east criticised the system, given the ratings were based on property values before the worst of the oil downturn.
Finance secretary Derek McKay confirmed new relief in February – as well as both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils – after months of pressure and the Barclay review was commissioned.
Last night business leaders urged firms to come forward and appeal if they felt their evaluation was unfair.
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The deadline for appealing rateable values is September 30 and we are urging businesses to take action now or lose out on the savings they could be entitled to and accept their rate will remain what it is until 2022.”
His words were echoed by Adrian Watson of city centre business body Aberdeen Inspired, who added: “It is important that anyone who feels their rates to be unfair comes forward and appeals to show the strength of feeling in the area.”
City council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “It’s crucial that the appeals are dealt with as quickly as possible, and the Scottish Government considers additional resources for the assessor if necessary.”
Finance vice convener Gordon Graham added: “In his budget for 2018/19, Derek Mackay needs to give Aberdeen businesses meaningful relief over a sustained period of time otherwise I fear many businesses will either move away from Aberdeen or cease to exist.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson responded: “Any business with concerns can contact their local assessor to discuss how their revaluation was arrived at, and have until 30 September to appeal.”