These included a number of much needed changes to the rating system taking effect from 1 April 2018. These should have a positive impact for businesses in terms of promoting growth and investment.

Firstly, the decision to link the Scottish UBR to CPI from April 2018 is a progressive move which will maintain alignment with the basic tax rate in England and was clearly influenced by the Barclay Report. We have reported on both UBR and Barclay in more detail in separate News Articles recently.

However, the 2.6p large property supplement in Scotland - for premises with Rateable Value (RV) above £51,000 - remains double that which applies in England. Clearly this could have a negative impact on investment in Scotland and needs further thought in our view.

Other welcome changes include the introduction of the 'Business Growth Accelerator' which could see 12 months' rates relief for new builds and improvements to premises. Additionally, any new build property will not be entered on to the Valuation Roll by the Assessors until it is occupied.

Furthermore, the revisions to Fresh Start Relief should be of considerable benefit to owners and prospective occupiers of vacant properties with RV up to £65,000. For example, where properties have been vacant for six months or more, the new occupier will be entitled to 12 months’ relief.

Finally, it is proposed that the Hydro Generation Properties with a RV of up to £5 million will be offered 60% relief when used in the generation of renewable energy from water.

Please do contact our team to discuss how these proposed changes may affect your business and how we may be able to help.