Derek Mackay revealed the business rates cap for north-east offices will be maintained in a budget that also saw the scrapping of the so-called Amazon tax.
The finance secretary said the transitional relief cap for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire offices would continue meaning that 2019/20 bills will rise by no more than 12.5% in real terms or 14.8% in cash terms for eligible properties.
The move was welcomed by local business people, but there were still calls for Mr Mackay to bring forward the business rates revaluation date currently scheduled for 2022.
Businesses in the north-east believe that an earlier revaluation would enable properties to be taxed at a level that reflects current economic conditions more than the most recent 2015 revaluation carried out when the oil industry was healthier.
James Bream, general manager of Katoni engineering in Aberdeen, said: “There isn’t a huge amount for me as a business to take away. But the extension of the transitional scheme will be welcomed by businesses in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who benefit. But more welcome would have been a measure the tone date (for revaluation) in line with the rest of the UK.”
In his budget, Mr Mackay also introduced a below-inflation increase in the non-domestic rates poundage of 2.1%.
He claimed this move would ensure more than 90% of properties in Scotland will be charged a lower rate, set at 49p, than other parts of the UK.
He also said he would keep the Small Business Bonus Scheme but said it would not be “fair” to continue with his plans to get councils to pilot the an “out of town” business rates levy – the so called Amazon tax.
Businesses have objected to the levy, which was supposed to provide cash to regenerate town centres, on the grounds that it would hit supermarkets, car dealerships and garden centres.
The out-of-town levy was proposed in the Scottish Government’s Barclay Review of business rates.
But Mr Mackay said: “In light of proposed UK taxes I do not believe that it would be right or fair to introduce such a tax at this time.”
Mr Mackay added that his decision would be kept “under review” and announced a £50million fund to support town centres.
Mr Mackay said his budget would help businesses grow, prosper and be successful.
“I have listened carefully to the business community. They seek investment in skills, people innovation and infrastructure. This budget delivers such investment,” he said.