Aberdeenshire Council is calling on all businesses to give their opinions on how best to structure a Business Rates Relief Scheme for Aberdeenshire.
Up to £3 million was set aside as ‘enabling money’ in Aberdeenshire Council’s revenue budget agreed at full council on 9th February to be used to support a rates relief scheme.
Councillors agreed to develop a scheme following approaches from business associations and individual businesses, who had expressed concerns at increases in rateable values following revaluation by the independent Assessor.
Under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, councils can reduce a business rates bill, although the council receives no compensation from the Government for this, and the full cost of any reduction has to be borne locally.
Businesses are being asked to submit their suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of February.
Co-Leader Cllr Richard Thomson called on businesses to get involved in helping to shape the business rates relief scheme which emerges. He said
We have heard the concerns of local businesses about the large rises which some businesses may be facing and we want to make sure that this scheme supports those in greatest need.
While the council does not set rateable values or decide what proportion of this will be payable in business rate bills, we do have to fund any reduction 100% from our own budget, which is money that is then no longer available for frontline services.
We want to create a scheme that is fair, straightforward and transparent and that will help local businesses in the region who may be facing real financial hardship. We want to hear from businesses who have ideas about how we can best deliver this support.
Co-Leader Cllr Alison Evison urged businesses to make their views known. She said
Please take time to give us your suggestions. We would like to hear from all sectors of the local economy and from individuals impacted by the revaluations. Our local business community is vitally important and supports our diverse economy with investment, jobs and opportunities for young workers. It contributes to the vibrancy of our towns and the character of our villages.
We are listening and keen to create a scheme that meets the needs of our local businesses. Your views can and will directly influence the shape of the scheme which councillors will discuss in March.
Ideas and suggestions need to be submitted by 12 noon on Tuesday 28th February and will inform the creation of the final scheme which will be discussed at the next meeting of the full Aberdeenshire Council on 9th March 2017.