The Scottish Government has repeatedly failed to provide any information it holds on how many businesses could fail because of its business rates hike.
North East MSP Mike Rumbles has twice asked for the Finance Minister to provide the information, or the details of any assessment the Scottish Government has carried out, but the Minister has refused on both occasions.
Mr Rumbles also submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Government on the 23rd of February and has received no response, to date.
Mr Rumbles said: “At best, the Minster has the information but is afraid of bad publicity if he publishes it. At worst, the Scottish Government has made no assessment whatsoever about the impact of their punitive rates hike.
“This is yet another example of the Scottish Government trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the taxpayer. Thousands of businesses, including nurseries and family businesses, have been hit and the Government has no idea about how many of them have been put under serious threat of closure.
“Inept and clueless. That is the only way to describe the Minters response to my parliamentary question. I have now submitted a FOI to get the information I have asked for.”
Notes for editors:
- Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats) 16 March 2017 Index Heading: Communities: To ask the Scottish Government, further to the holding answer to question S5W-06536 by Derek Mackay on 8 February 2017, when it will provide a full response. S5W-07322
Derek Mackay: I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-06536 on 22 February 2017. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx
- Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats) 20 February 2017 Index Heading: Communities: To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of how many businesses may fail as a result of the recent revaluation of business rates. S5W-06536
Derek Mackay: In my Draft Budget 2017-18 statement to Parliament I set out a comprehensive package of action in light of the revaluation to deliver a highly competitive business rates regime that will benefit businesses across Scotland.
The package includes expansion of the Small Business Bonus Scheme from April 2017 to lift 100,000 properties out of rates completely, excluding 8,000 properties from the large business supplement, and cutting the overall business rates poundage by 3.7 per cent to 46.6 pence.
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 has enabled councils to apply further rates reductions separately from Government-funded reliefs. In addition, an external review led by Ken Barclay is exploring how business rates can better reflect economic conditions and support growth. We will respond swiftly when the review concludes in the summer of 2017.
- Freedom of Information Request submitted 23/02/17:
a) Please confirm whether the Scottish Government has made any assessment whatsoever of how many businesses may fail as a result of the recent revaluation of business rates, 2017.
b) If so, please provide a copy of that assessment, including all details of how the assessment was conducted, all findings and all relating reports and analysis.