New business rates relief for Scotland

Local Government Minister Derek Mackay yesterday announced a new business rates relief of up to 100 per cent, which will help developers and encourage the supply of new build business premises.

This new relief will help new empty properties built in Scotland from 1 April. The scheme aims to encourage speculative development and investment and increase supply of new premises for businesses by providing rates relief to owners/developers of new build empty properties for up to 18 months. The relief will run for three years.

The scheme is expected to provide an additional £5-10 million in rates relief and  complements the recently announced “Fresh Start” scheme, which focuses on helping landlords or developers attract occupiers to certain long term empty properties, as well as encouraging some business start-ups, by reducing rates bills.

More details on the initiative will be announced shortly.

Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay said:

“I want to see Scotland thriving and be attractive to investment. This new rates relief builds on a package of actions the Scottish Government is taking to support that.

“Scotland already has the most competitive rates regime in the UK, worth more than £500 million annually, and it’s important that in tough times we listen to our developers and our business community and take steps to encourage their continued investment in the economy.

“Through this new relief and our Fresh Start initiative, we are encouraging people to invest in Scotland, set up shop, and capitalise on the business opportunities we offer.

“This Government and our enterprise agencies are working tirelessly to retain its position as the most supportive business environment anywhere in the UK and that’s why it will be available from April this year, which is six months in advance of the proposed UK Government equivalent scheme.

“We recognise the importance of our business rate reliefs in stimulating economic growth and in maximising opportunities to secure investment and jobs for our communities.”

Chairman of the Scottish Property Federation and MD of mixed use developer Murray Estates, Jestyn Davies, commented:

”New speculative commercial property development is an important part of the economy that has been sadly lacking in recent years, resulting in a loss of jobs and economic growth.

“We welcome the Minister’s move today which shows that the Government has listened to industry concerns about the impact of reducing empty property rate relief on speculative new development which can often take more than a year to let.  While we understand that the Government has had to operate within the confines of State Aid rules, this move is nonetheless a much needed and timely boost for the commercial development industry.”