Scottish tourism ‘reassured’ by rates recommendations

Hospitality organisations have welcomed Scottish finance minister Derek Mackay’s recommendation to extend the 12.5% business rates cap.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), British Hospitality Association (BHA) and Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said in a joint statement that they were “encouraged” by Mackay’s response to the Barclay Review.

Overseen by former RBS chairman Ken Barclay, the Barclay Review called for an overhaul of business rates but stopped short of recommending a new system, prompting disappointment from hospitality industry bodies.

Mackay recommended that the cap for hospitality and licensed trade businesses be extended for 2018-19.

He also supported a continual review of how business rates are calculated to create a fairer system for all businesses, irrespective of size or ownership.

Furthermore, he proposed to reduce the revaluation term from five to three years to sit more in line with market trends. The coalition of hospitality bodies said this “will offer reassurance to our industry during this period of political and economic unknowns as we head towards our Brexit date”.

The statement continued: “The STA, BHA and SLTA look forward to continued regular dialogue with Scottish government, its public agencies and tourism businesses on the business rates issue and indeed the wider issues that have the potential to affect the growth and competitiveness of Scotland’s tourism industry.”

The STA will announce the results of its research project, ‘Tourism & Hospitality: the Growing Costs of Doing Business’ at its autumn conference and annual general meeting on October 3.