Non-domestic Rates Public Health Supplement

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 29 February 2024.

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Photo of Elizabeth Smith Elizabeth Smith Conservative

3. To ask the Scottish Government what analysis it has conducted of the potential impact of the proposed non-domestic rates public health supplement on large retailers, as set out in its 2024-25 Scottish budget. (S6O-03144)

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

The announcement in the Scottish budget for 2024-25 signalled the Scottish Government’s intent to explore the reintroduction of a public health supplement for large retailers in advance of the next budget. In line with the new deal for business, we are committed to engaging early with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that any impact of any proposals on business is fully understood. Exploratory discussions have already started with business and other relevant stakeholders such as public health organisations, and those will continue to ensure that considered and informed decisions can be made in advance of the 2025-26 budget.

Photo of Elizabeth Smith Elizabeth Smith Conservative

I know that the cabinet secretary is aware of the very strong concerns that have been expressed by the Scottish Retail Consortium. At stage 2, she promised that she would examine the likely impacts of any such move. However, I ask her to recognise that those who are already liable for the higher property rate are paying a much higher rate on comparable premises than those elsewhere in the UK and that the imposition of a surtax would just widen that differential and undermine the ability of large Scottish retailers to remain competitive.

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

As Liz Smith recognised, we have been engaging directly with a number of business organisations including the Scottish Retail Consortium, and we will continue to do that. We have asked for some information and evidence from the sector on what it regards the impact to be, and we will continue to work with it through those discussions in line with the new deal for business. The discussions so far have been very constructive.