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SGF and ACS Call for Fairer Rates System

Retailers Call for Fairer Business Rates System in Scotland

Convenience store retailers have called for changes to the business rates revaluation system in Scotland to make the system fairer as part of a submission to the Scottish Government.

In a joint submission by the Association of Convenience Stores and the Scottish Grocers Federation, the trade bodies have called for a valuation system that is transparent, up to date, and cost effective.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Business rates are a key issue for convenience retailers in Scotland, with our research showing that business rates represent up to 62% of a convenience stores’ property costs. We would like to see a rating system that is clear and understandable for retailers .”

Under the current system, business rates revaluations are carried out every five years. However, due to the delay in the upcoming rates revaluation, current rateable values are based on rental data from seven years ago when the market was at its peak.

Mr Lowman continued: “Moving to a three year revaluation period would provide more accurate rateable values and avoid the huge disconnect between the current rating list and property value fluctuations that we’ve seen over the last seven years.”

In the submission, ACS and SGF also call for further use of discretionary rate relief to help local shops, and a move to a single assessor in Scotland – a system which is currently successfully in place in England and Wales.