Puzzled by the retail exodus from our high streets? Here’s one part of the puzzle.

The tax revenues that the Scottish Government hopes to generate from the doubling of the large firms’ rates supplement this financial year is now £62.4 million – up by £2.4 million on the Holyrood Finance Committee report’s estimate given in January.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay gave the new figure in response to a written Parliamentary Question. Some 29,000 businesses are affected and businesses located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and South Lanarkshire are expected to contribute the most.

In April, five of Scotland’s leading industry and sectoral representative groups voiced concern over the additional business rates supplement now being levied on firms occupying medium-sized and larger commercial premises in Scotland and move away from the previous level playing field with the rest of the UK.

Says Scottish Retail Consortium Director David Lonsdale, “Business rates have been ratcheted up year after year with little regard to trading or economic conditions. With shop vacancies increasing and one in every ten retail premises empty, there is a pressing need to reduce the cost of doing business.

“The doubling of the rates surcharge only adds to the burden, when many firms have options over where to invest in the UK or instead improving their online presence at the expense of new or refurbished shops.”

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