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Scottish firms lodge £5bn worth of business rates appeals

Nearly a third of Scottish firms have appealed their business rates revaluation, totalling more than £5 billion, new figures have revealed.
Businesses received their non-domestic rates valuation in April, with many warning the huge increases could force them to the wall and shed jobs.
The SNP government has been severely criticised for its response to the issue, and finance secretary Derek Mackay has been under increasing pressure from the industry to sort it out.
Now it has emerged that 29 per cent of businesses have appealed their revaluation, the deadline for which was September 30.
And of the £5 billion worth of appeals, just £161 million has been resolved.
The official statistics even showed there are still 325 outstanding rates appeals from the previous revaluation in 2010.
Only yesterday, the Scottish Government was forced into a u-turn on “swim tax” – an unpopular proposal to strip council arm’s-length organisations which provide culture and leisure facilities of their charitable status.
That followed months of campaigning on the issue by the Scottish Conservatives.
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:
“The fact £5 billion worth of appeals have gone in really exposes the severity of this situation.
“These are companies who could very well go to the wall unless this is sorted out quickly.
“So far Derek Mackay has come up with a series of temporary fixes for the business rates issue.
“While the Barclay Review did come up with some sensible suggestions to reform the system it was hamstrung from the start by being told its recommendations had to be revenue neutral.
“It is clear that we need longer-term solutions to ensure that Scottish businesses are not put at a competitive disadvantage within the UK.”

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