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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-13764

  • Asked by: Daniel Johnson, MSP for Edinburgh Southern, Scottish Labour
  • Date lodged: 11 January 2023
  • Current status: Answered by Tom Arthur on 20 January 2023


To ask the Scottish Government what engagement it had with business organisations ahead of the announcement, contained in the draft Scottish Budget 2023-24, that the Small Business Bonus Scheme relief thresholds would be reformed.


The Scottish Government accepted the independent Barclay Review’s recommendation that the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) be evaluated and commissioned the Fraser of Allander Institute to do so. After the publication of the evaluation on 8 March 2022, the Scottish Government set up a short-term working group, which included business organisations, to consider in particular the recommendation “that the Scottish Government begins to collect new information that will make a more robust assessment of the SBBS (and potentially other reliefs) possible in the future”. The group concluded that the financial support which SBBS relief offers benefits many small businesses, but concerns were raised that collecting more information would place an additional burden on business which would not be welcomed at this time.

The Scottish Government also engages regularly with business and sectoral organisations including in a number of stakeholder roundtables ahead of the budget to help understand tax priorities for all the taxes that the Scottish Government has control over, including non-domestic rates.

Responding to the main ask from 19 business organisations, the Budget announced a freeze to the poundage, delivering the lowest poundage in the UK for the fifth year in a row, and continues to support our businesses and communities with a generous non-domestic rates relief package. The Small Business Bonus Scheme remains the most generous scheme of its kind in the UK, and will continue to take 100,000 properties out of rates altogether.