60 members of the Inverurie Business Association (IBA) gathered at Sinclair’s Café in Inverurie to hear an update from Scottish experts on the current business rates review ahead of the closing date for the Scottish Government Consultation being conducted by the Barclay Business Rates review which closes on the 7th October 2016.
Tim Bunker, a Partner at Rydens in Edinburgh discussed how rates were set, the process for setting these and how businesses can lodge an appeal against their rates calculation, as well as how businesses can individually or collectively renegotiate their business rates.
Lorna Greig and Richard Lang from Rydens Aberdeen office also attended and answered questions with their local knowledge and market intelligence.
Tim Bunker advised that the Rates Evaluations based on 2014/15 data supplied by each business would have been completed now. Once a business has received their Rates Bill there is a six month window (April – September 2017) in which to lodge an appeal. This is critical as if an appeal is not lodged then the rates will be fixed for a number of years – until the next Rates review.
He added that the best way for businesses to support any appeal was to provide evidence of change in business profitability due to local market conditions, as well as working with other adjacent businesses to put forward a united case.
Catherine Ward from the Federation of Small Businesses spoke about the consultation they had just completed with their members on rates issues and advised that small businesses are finding rates an increasing pressure on their business overheads.
Ashley Wilson, Chair of the IBA said: “Business owners of Inverurie are not prepared to pay more for their Business Rates in 2017. We need to act NOW – the bigger the number, the stronger the collective voice we have to influence the Scottish Government on Business Rates in Inverurie.” She added: “The IBA is planning a Rates Clinic soon to provide more detailed advice and support.”
Judy Whyte, Owner of family business Mitchells of Inverurie added: “Let’s not leave this too late, we need to act now. It’s about keeping Inverurie competitive, growing and thriving – this Rates issue will affect your business. I would encourage all business property occupiers to get involved in the government consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org before it’s too late.”