Billing Pause For Business Rate Payers In Highland
1st April 2020
Around 19,000 business rate payers in Highland will not receive their annual rates bill this April.
The Highland Council recognises the exceptional economic challenges for local business and has therefore decided to pause business rates bills in respect of financial year 2020/21.
The decision to pause will be kept under regular review and is intended to help mitigate the impacts of coronavirus on local businesses and the local economy.
Supporting businesses in this way means that the business community does not have to worry about paying their rates bills for the time being.
This billing pause, together with the package of support available, is intended to provide businesses with sufficient confidence to retain their workforce and to focus on future trading as Government restrictions are kept under regular review.
More information relating to the package of available rates relief and business grants is published on the Council's website at: https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/2/business_rates/404/business_rates/8
The Council's Budget Leader, Councillor Alister Mackinnon said:"These are exceptional times, requiring exceptional measures. The decision to pause business rates bills has been taken to ensure that local businesses and local jobs are protected while acknowledging the tremendous and selfless offers of support from local businesses for those impacted by coronavirus.
"We will continue to follow national guidance to deliver for businesses and our communities as best we can in these unprecedented times."
Following discussions at the recent Council meeting, the Council Leader has formally written to the Local Government Boundary Commission on their proposals for councillor numbers and ward boundaries in the Highland Council area. She advised the Boundary Commission that the Council rejected the Commission's proposals in their entirety and formally requested that they halt this process immediately and review the whole issue of remote and rural area boundaries and councillor numbers in consultation with the Highland Council and other local authorities who have mainland councils with inhabited islands.
The Scottish Government has launched a £1,500 grant scheme to assist each individual licensed taxi or private hire driver with their fixed costs including licence plate fees, rental fees and insurance payments for taxis not on the road. The Highland Council's Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Trish Robertson said: "The Highland Council has been asked by the Scottish Government to deliver this grant scheme on their behalf.
Applicants for the Scottish Government's Temporary Business Closure Grant can now apply even if they do not have a formal business bank account. Businesses will now be able to use a personal bank account as evidence, if the account is mainly used for their business banking.
A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions will be paid following an announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes. In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of.
Members at yesterday's previously adjourned and re-scheduled meeting of Highland Council voted to carry a motion introduced to make adjustments to the agenda in light of the situation in relation to COVID-19 and Brexit. The urgent motion was proposed by Highland Council Leader Cllr Margaret Davidson and supported by the Leader of the official Opposition, Cllr Raymond Bremner.
The Highland Council has issued a letter to all parents providing an update regarding the reopening of schools and early learning and childcare settings following the announcement made yesterday by the First Minister that the country is now in a national lockdown. All Highland schools will remain open but the only pupils who should attend are those identified as vulnerable and the children of Key Workers when no other arrangements can be made.
The Highland Council met today (7 January 2021) and took the opportunity to discuss Brexit. A number of issues arising from the UK's exit from the EU were discussed and the complexity of the situation was recognised particularly since there are a number of other concurrent issues such as COVID.
The Council wishes to provide re-assurance to communities that it's Winter Gritting teams are continuing to work extremely hard throughout the area during the current lock-down, providing a road and pavement gritting service following the Council's policy on prioritisation of routes. Details of the council's highland wide and local area gritting policies and maps are on the Council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting.
The Highland Council today launched the Temporary Business Closure Grant. This grant is available for businesses who have had to close due to the COVID-19 protective measures introduced on Boxing Day.
The Highland Council is giving more time for people to take part in it's draft food growing strategy - Growing Our Future. The extension, until the 28 February, will allow outcomes from the up-coming Highland Good Food Conversation to be incorporated in the strategy.