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Background Info

On Tuesday 27th November 2012, the Scottish Government confirmed, as part of the Business Rates Consultation, that Non-Domestic Revaluation would now take place on 1st April 2017. This represents a postponement of some two years. Despite being called to confirm their position, the decision was announced as part of a consultation on non domestic rating.

This decision must be overturned, as hard-pressed businesses in all sectors have been awaiting the 2015 Revaluation. This is because the date values are based on is rents passing on or about 1st April 2013.The economic crisis fully hit after the last date 2010 Revaluation figures were based on 1st April 2008 and, therefore, current Rateable Values are based on what are now considered artificially high rents, given the current market conditions. Businesses, especially retail have been looking forward to the 2015 Revaluation as it would in effect mean Rateable Values based on market conditions currently being experienced. This is calculated at an average reduction accross Scotland to be in the region of 23%.

Should the Revaluation not occur, it will also mean that any potential ratepayer looking to occupy a vacant property will be put off at the initial planning stage. Asking rents will be lower but a high Rateable Value will effect any business model. Proceeding with the Revaluation will lower Rateable Values making properties more marketable and should therefore stimulate demand. Coupled with recent changes to empty property relief revised Rateable Values need to occur on schedule. Such a delay will instead lead to further business failures thus resulting in even more empty properties accross the country.

For businesses to survive, the Revaluation must not be postponed, rather proceed as normal, to allow current rental levels to be utilised. Although the consultation document invites feedback on this and another raft of measures effecting non domestic rating, it is felt that given the opposition to the proposed postponement of the Revaluation that a petition be raised in order that all interested parties from individual (unrepresented) ratepayers to national companies be allowed to voice their concerns. Such a petition is already "live" in respect of the Westminster government's decision to postpone the Revaluation in England and Wales and in the interests of fairness a similar petition should be in place in respect of Scotland.

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