Businesses urged to appeal 'unfair' rate rises

Image caption,
The chambers claim rates have climbed sharply for some businesses

Business owners whose rates bills increased following revaluation are being urged to lodge appeals against the rises before next month's deadline.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has claimed some businesses have seen rate rises of more than 200% in the past year.

It said companies still had time to challenge rating assessments they felt might be unfair.

Appeals can be made to the local assessor's office by 30 September.

Many small firms currently pay no rates under the Scottish government's small business bonus scheme, which came into effect in April.

However, transitional relief for larger companies was scrapped.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of SCC, said: "This year's non-domestic rates revaluation has resulted in many businesses being landed with increases in their rates bills of 50%, 100% and in some cases over 200%.

"Coming at a time when the Scottish economy is struggling to sustain renewed growth, the burden of sudden hikes in rates bills could damage businesses during a period of extreme fragility."

Ms Cameron urged any business which felt its valuation was wrong to lodge an appeal as soon as possible.

She added: "Businesses should also remember that successful appeals could result in their becoming eligible for rates relief, such as the Scottish government's small business bonus scheme, and that these reliefs can be backdated."

SCC has been lobbying the Scottish government for the reintroduction of transitional relief, arguing that some Scots firms were worse off than English rivals.

But the Scottish government has claimed almost 60% of ratepayers now paid less, or no more, in business rates.

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