Aberdeen council chiefs will write to the Scottish government asking for business relief on “disastrous” new property rate measures.
Non-domestic rates will rocket at a number of businesses across the north-east due to changes to the rateable values (RV) on buildings.
The increases are the result of new RVs which take effect from April. RVs are the base figure used to calculate rates, with other factors affecting the final figure.
The changes have proved controversial, particularly among the north-east’s business community as the figures are based on property prices from April 2015- when the commercial property in and around the city remained at “the top of the market”, before it fully adjusted to the slump in oil prices.
Apple’s store in Union Square shopping centre in Aberdeen is facing a whopping rise in its business rates after its RV increased by £200,000 to £350,000.
Now, the council’s finance convener Willie Young will write to the finance secretary Derek Mackay to either put off implementing the new rates or only have a slight increase.
He said: “It is shortsighted of the SNP Scottish Government to hammer businesses in Aberdeen and the north- east with absurd increases in business rates, because if companies which serve the oil industry close or move elsewhere in the world many jobs will be lost and our economy will suffer.”
Aberdeen based Mr Shearer said this month that a delay in the rates, which has been implemented by the Westminster government in England and Wales, is the only solution.
He said: “Seriously, this will mean bulldozing buildings in Aberdeen and lots and lots of firms going out of business. It is going to be catastrophic.”
But a Scottish Government spokeswoman said local government had powers to solve the problems.
She said: “Rating valuation is undertaken by independent assessors, funded by local councils, not the Scottish Government.
“It is for councils to apply rates reductions, on top of existing statutory relief, as they see fit. Individual business rate payers can, of course, appeal their valuation if they feel it is incorrect.
“The Scottish Government announced a package of action to reduce business rates as part of the budget.
“The Small Business Bonus Scheme will be expanded from 2017 to lift 100,000 properties out of rates completely, 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 be cut by 3.7% to 46.6p.”