Scottish business rate rises capped at two per cent

Scottish business rates will increase by a below-inflation two per cent in 2014, the country's Finance Secretary John Swinney has announced.

Unveiling next year's council spending plans to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Swinney said he was matching the two per cent cap for England and Wales announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in last week's Autumn Statement in order to help Scottish businesses maintain a "competitive advantage".

The Small Business Bonus Scheme, which allows small businesses to pay no business rates at all, will also be expanded. The upper rateable value threshold for companies with multiple properties will increase from £25,000 to £35,000, a move that will bring an extra 4,000 business properties into the scheme.

Speaking to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Swinney said:

"In the Autumn Budget Statement last week, the Chancellor announced that the annual increase in the business rates poundage in England and Wales would be capped at two per cent.

"To maintain the competitive advantage enjoyed by Scottish businesses and maintain Scotland's position as the best place to do business, we will match that cap and restrict the increase in rates business pay to two per cent."

The chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Liz Cameron, welcomed the announcements:

"The Scottish Government has honoured an important manifesto commitment in matching the UK Government's two per cent cap on next year's business rates increase and in doing so it will save Scottish businesses millions of pounds next year.

"Equally welcome is the extension of the threshold of the Small Business Bonus Scheme for businesses with multiple properties, which will assist an additional 4,000 businesses across Scotland."