Jeremy Balfour: Rate Relief Too Little Too Late for Midlothian Business Community

Over 1,500 businesses across Midlothian will be hit by an increase in business rates despite another budget U-turn performed by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay as he seeks to address Scotland’s business rates crisis.

Addressing Holyrood yesterday, Mr. Mackay said up to £40 million had been discovered within a budget that had previously been “maxed out”.

It means some sectors in certain areas of the country will have their increases capped at 12.5 per cent, although many others will still have to endure the crippling increases.

Mr. Mackay eventually conceded to MSPs that the cap would only be in place for one year, a move described as a “sticking plaster approach” by the Scottish Conservatives.

It’s another surprise discovery of cash by the finance secretary, after he found more than £180 million to appease the Greens in budget negotiations earlier this month.

Commenting, Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP Jeremy Balfour said;

“40% of businesses in Midlothian will see an increase in their business rates yet only 61 businesses will be helped by the Finance Secretary’s recent announcement."

“For weeks the SNP has been ignoring this issue, claiming it had no control over this process."

“We’ve heard on more than one occasion that this budget has been maxed out, yet once again Mr Mackay has been able to find a bit more money down the back of the couch. For some local businesses this will be cold comfort, given it is for one year only.”