I have two points for Mr Gibson. I reiterate that, since 2007, the local government budget has increased at a faster rate than the Scottish Government’s budget, which demonstrates and validates the strong settlement that we have given to local government over the years. Figure 2 in the consultation document that the Scottish Government has published today sets out the relative poundage rates in Scotland and England in the period between 2000-01 and 2007-08. Mr Gibson will see that, in every year, the poundage rate was higher in Scotland than it was in England. Of course, we have maintained the poundage rate at the same level as in England throughout the period.
On small business rates, between 2003-04 and 2007-08, our predecessors spent between £20 million and £25 million each year on the small business rates relief scheme. Since 2008-09, the Government has spent between a low of £73 million, which was when we started the scheme, and a high of £145 million, which was in 2012-13. That is a clear illustration of the scale of assistance that has been put in place for the small business community in Scotland.