Mackay to address MSPs on business rate changes

Derek Mackay. Credit: Picture by Andrew Milligan PA Wire/PA Images

Finance secretary Derek Mackay is to address MSPs on the issue of controversial business rate changes.

The Scottish Government said he will use a proposed parliamentary statement to outline "a further package of support" to help firms deal with the impact of the forthcoming revaluation of business rates.

Firms are facing their first rate revaluation since 2010, with independent assessors carrying out the work and the changes due to take effect on April 1.

The Scottish Conservatives say the situation is becoming a "crisis", arguing that businesses facing large increases could be forced to close.

The Scottish Government insists that action it has already committed to will ensure that seven out of 10 business properties will pay the same rates or less next year, with half paying nothing.

Speaking ahead of his statement, Mr Mackay said:

I have set out a competitive package of measures to give small and medium enterprises the security and confidence to grow in these tough economic times.

Derek Mackay
. Credit: Picture by Yui Mok PA Archive/PA Images

He said he has been listening to firms around Scotland and will set out "further steps to support Scotland's economy".

Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said businesses need "real help" from the Scottish Government.

"If they don't take meaningful action we face seeing the Scottish economy suffering as many businesses across Scotland will be left with no choice but to close," he warned.

Derek Mackay was warned months ago about the damage that these rates increases could cause, but it's taken until now for him to do anything about it.

Murdo Fraser