Extension of small business bonus scheme

Cuts in business rates are benefiting 80 per cent of eligible small business properties in Scotland, according to new figures available today.

Nearly 94,000 small business properties benefit from some form of relief from the full costs of business rates; and of those, more than 64,000 are in receipt of the small business bonus scheme

Finance and Sustainable Growth Secretary John Swinney acknowledged that more could be done to target businesses who are eligible but have not applied for the small business bonus scheme.

He said:

"These figures show the scale of the Scottish Government's commitment to help Scotland's small businesses - the beating heart of our economy.

"Even before the downturn we were moving to help high streets up and down Scotland through the small business bonus scheme.

"In just its first year the scheme has helped the owners of more than 64,000 business properties with their business rates, meaning 80 per cent of eligible businesses received some form of rates relief.

"From the start of this month, the scheme was introduced in full, meaning tens of thousands of small businesses will pay no rates at all.

"That is crucial as we look to build on our economic recovery programme and support businesses through the downturn.

"The tough trading conditions businesses are facing makes it even more important that we reach those not taking advantage of the small business bonus scheme. We are already taking that message to the business community and we will work with partners like local authorities to reach as many as we can.

"We also know that there is an issue with small businesses which have multiple properties. While of course it is right that large chains with many properties are ineligible, we will look at what more can be done for smaller businesses who find themselves unable to access rates relief due to having more than one property. The Scottish Government intends to undertake a consultation on this issue in due course."

Eligibility for Small Business Bonus Scheme relief is determined on the basis of the rateable value of all properties within a business.