Tue 22 Aug, 2017

Greens are pushing for bold reform of local taxation to put public services on a firm financial footing. Patrick Harvie MSP

Aspects of a report published today on non-domestic business rates deserve recognition, but disappointingly leave out proposals for real reforms say the Scottish Greens.

The Barclay Report on Business Rates, according to the party, lacks recommendations to see NDR transformed into a “land value tax” or for councils to determine how rates are set.

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens’ finance spokesperson, said:

“While any analysis on non-domestic rates is welcome, it should be remembered that the Barclay Review has a very narrow focus and only asks how to reform the system as it exists. Greens are pushing for bold reform of local taxation to put public services on a firm financial footing.

“Some aspects of the report’s recommendations deserve recognition, for example, an evaluation of the Small Business Bonus Scheme is an initiative Greens have previously called for to determine if there’s a better way to use this to support small businesses.

“Disappointingly the report did not propose any of the bold measures that Green MSPs have been campaigning for such as real reforms to non-domestic business rates that would see it transformed into a land value tax aimed at removing any disincentive to improving properties, or devolving 50% of the rate setting to councils. There are also no recommendations that would help address the rise of short term lets. The need to open up discussion of this issue is clear. Non-domestic rates generate almost £3billion a year for council services and are the second highest-yielding tax set by Scottish Ministers after Income Tax, yet there is almost no public scrutiny.”

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