Published date : 09 Dec 2019

Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP, Jenny Gilruth, has lambasted opposition parties after figures laid bare the cost Fife Council could be faced with under plans backed by Tory, Labour and Green MSPs.

Tory and Labour MSPs voted for an Andy Wightman amendment to the Non-Domestic Rates Bill that would remove the ability of Scottish Ministers to set the business rates nationally.

Under the current system, the Scottish Government guarantees the total level of income to councils by filling the gap in funding if business rates receipts are lower than forecast.

If the plans backed by the Tories and Labour had been in place, Fife Council would have faced a shortfall of £5.4million over the past two years.

During this period, 24 councils have benefited from Scottish Government funding protection - including Fife Council.

Amendment 9, lodged by Andy Wightman, sets out to devolve powers to set business rates to councils. The effect is that rates would no longer be set nationally and business rates reliefs - including the Small Business Bonus and rates relief for nurseries - would automatically end.

SNP MSPs have condemned the plans, saying that that Local Governments and businesses benefit from the certainty that a national framework for NDR provides.

Commenting, the MSP said:

''Mid Fife and Glenrothes businesses have had nothing but uncertainty imposed by the Tories in their reckless pursuit of Brexit.


''But, under plans backed by the Tories, Labour and the Greens, council finances would be further exposed to the risk of economic shock that Brexit could cause.


''If these plans had been in effect, Fife Council would have faced a shortfall of £5.4million over the past two years.

''The Tories and Labour must listen to the concerns of industry and urgently back track on their support for these proposals.

''The last thing businesses in Fife need is more chaos and uncertainty. It has become clear that the SNP is the only party standing up for Scotland's businesses.''



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