Sottish Chambers Of Commerce Reacts To Mixed Results Of Holyrood Rates Vote
5th February 2020
Scottish Chambers of Commerce reacts to mixed results of Holyrood rates vote.
Whilst welcoming the Scottish Parliament's decision to retain the Uniform Business Rate, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has urged the Scottish Parliament to reconsider what it believes is a major barrier to a more flexible, responsive rates system outside of the revaluation cycle following voting on the Non Domestic Rates Bill (Scotland) today.
Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:"The Scottish Chambers of Commerce is deeply concerned about the impact of Section 8B of the Bill which has the effect of completely removing Scottish ratepayers' appeal rights when there is a change in economic circumstances.
"SCC made clear our views that this Section came forward at Stage 2 without proper consultation or consideration of the ratepayers that it would affect, and now guarantees a more inflexible system to market changes and undermines the move to three yearly revaluations.
“The Conservative party tabled a Stage 3 amendment to seek such a consultation but all other parties voted against this sensible amendment to what we believe is a part of the Bill that will be damaging to all ratepayers in Scotland and will prove to be a major barrier to a more flexible, responsive rates system outside of the revaluation cycle, which is what the Bill’s purpose was."
On the MSPs’ rejection of amendments calling for changes to the Uniform Business rate, Dr Cameron said:“SCC welcomes the rejection of an amendment to the Non-Domestic rates bill which would have seen powers over business rates devolved to local authorities. What is clear is that transformative changes such as this should be subject to significant scrutiny, taking into consideration the significant changes this could bring to the business environment.
“As a network, SCC is mindful of calls for greater regional powers which continue to be a feature of discussions with our members. The Bill has however, devolved powers on setting of empty property relief to local authorities which will create differences in treatment of empty properties in different local authority areas."
On new powers for Scottish Assessors, Dr Cameron continued:“SCC is concerned that calls for softening the imposition of onerous penalties and compliance deadlines have been rejected. This aspect of the bill will be particularly challenging for SMEs who often do not always have the resources to manage what information is being requested and for what purpose. The Chamber Network believes the penalty system in England appears more reasonable and proportionate and we urge Scottish Government to rethink and bring penalties more in line so companies in Scotland are not disadvantaged.”
Caithness Chamber of Commerce's new Test and Protect service, #ProtectNorthHighlands, goes live today (26 August) across Caithness and Sutherland. Offering a simple, secure way for businesses to store customer data in line with Scottish Government's requirements for Test and Protect, the service is free to all businesses across the region thanks to the generous support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Commenting on the publication of Scottish Government GDP statistics for Q2 2020, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: "The collapse in Scotland's GDP in the second quarter sets alarm bells ringing even if the fall was expected. The 19.7% decline from April to June makes Scotland’s and the UK’s economies among the worst performing in Europe.
Caithness Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce that, thanks to the generous support of Highlands & Islands Enterprise, it will be launching a free, simple online service to allow hospitality businesses across the North Highlands to safely collect and store customer data in line with official guidelines to support the Scottish Government's Test & Protect Programme. This new service, #ProtectNorthHighlands, will be launching on 26 August and will be free for any business in Caithness and Sutherland to access.
The First Minster is to ask the Scottish Government Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, to have direct discussion with the insurance sector about companies who are "wriggling out of their obligations" to Scottish businesses. Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, asked Nicola Sturgeon today at First Minister's Questions about the problems firms were having claiming their business interruption insurance.
North Highland College UHI and Developing the Young Workforce North Highland (DYW) initiative, led by Caithness Chamber of Commerce, have signed a partnership agreement to formalise their new initiative, The Apprenticeship Hub. The initiative aims to create a collaborative approach between North Highland College UHI and Developing the Young Workforce North Highland to support growth in the apprenticeship family to benefit the Caithness and Sutherland economy.
The Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) for the North Highlands & Islands, hosted by Caithness Chamber of Commerce, will be hosting a business breakfast on 1 March 2019 at the Pentland Hotel, Thurso to update you on the latest around Brexit and what it means for businesses in the North Highlands. As part of our Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) contract, the Caithness Chamber will be hosting a business breakfast on 1 March 2019 at the Pentland Hotel, Thurso to update you on the latest around Brexit and what it means for businesses in the North Highlands.
Questions about Brexit? Citizens' rights and settled status? Drop in and talk to the Europe Direct Information Centre team who will be available to answer your questions and offer guidance on where to find reliable, up to date information. Sessions in Thurso and Wick..
The Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) initiative was established following the report by The Commission for Developing the Young Workforce, led by Sir Ian Wood, which agreed that all of our young people are entitled to an education relevant to the world of work. Regional groups have been created across the country to lead and support the development of Scotland's Young People identifying issues of skills gaps and youth unemployment.
Local business support organisations in Caithness are coming together on Thursday 12th May 2016 in Thurso to host an event as part of an ongoing initiative to help local businesses find out about, and harness, the support available to do business overseas. Entitled ‘Reaching Customers Overseas', the event will take place at Caithness Horizons between 1-4pm.
Through a project jointly funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), Caithness Chamber of Commerce is offering business support and mentoring aimed at aspiring businesses in the Caithness & North Sutherland area. If you are considering setting up your own business (either full time or part time), then the Chamber is able to offer guidance and support in areas such as:· · Business planning and writing business plans · Employment responsibilities · Establishing and registering a business · Intellectual property / trademarks · Market research · Marketing and sales This project is open to those looking to start up as a new business or those who have started a business which is less than 6 months old.