Non-domestic rates relief extended
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Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses in the north-east will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined by the Scottish Government.
It is one of a series of measures proposed by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus spending.
The move builds on the three month rates relief extension announced in the Scottish Budget and will be taken forward provided the Scottish Government receives the funding already assumed from the UK Budget on March 3, and that requisite funds are available to maintain existing support into 2021-22.
Newspapers will also continue to benefit from 100 per cent relief for a further 12 months, while charitable rates relief will not be removed from mainstream independent schools until April 1, 2022 due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Other extra spending in 2021-22 arising from the latest consequentials includes:
£120 million for mental health
£120 million for affordable housing
£100 million to support people on low incomes
£60 million for schools to help pupils catch-up on missed education
£60 million for NHS recovery
£45 million for heat decarbonisation, energy efficiency and fuel poverty
£21.5 million for Scottish Enterprise
Separately, local authorities will receive an extra £275 million in the current financial year to address Covid-19 pressures, while a further £40 million is being made available to support the safe reopening of schools.
Ms Forbes said: “When I presented our budget last month I guaranteed to extend non-domestic rates relief further if I was given the necessary resources. I can now deliver on that promise, providing the UK Budget in March delivers the funding we require.
“The other measures I am proposing, including further support for hospitals, schools and local government and measures to tackle climate change, build on our priorities to ensure a robust recovery for our economy and public services.
“This welcome additional consequential funding was confirmed to us yesterday and I wanted give early notice to parliament and provide clarity to businesses.
“We are still in the throes of a national emergency and it is important Parliament works together to respond.
"I will continue to work with all parties to help deliver a budget for the nation fit for these times.”