Industry bodies across the retail sector in Scotland have written to the deputy first minister, urging the Scottish Government to act quickly and match the chancellor’s commitment of 75% rates relief for retail businesses in 2023/24.
Representatives of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), the Scottish Retail Consortium, the British Independent Retailers Association and the Booksellers Association signed the joint letter, highlighting the significant challenges facing the sector. Alongside the reduction in footfall due to the cost-of-living crisis, retailers are also facing spiralling energy costs, soaring inflation, and continued disruption to supply chains.
SGF Chief Executive, Dr Pete Cheema OBE said: “The retail sector in Scotland employs close to 230,000 people and is key player in driving economic growth, both within communities and throughout the country. Producers, suppliers, and households all benefit when local high streets are thriving.
“However, many retailers are facing an extremely challenging trading environment, and some are struggling to keep the lights on. So, there’s no time to lose, the Scottish Government needs to act now.
“That is why representatives from across the retail in Scotland have sent the Scottish Government a very clear message. Retailers in Scotland should have, at the very least, the same level of access to additional assistance which our counterparts in the rest of GB will have. To heyourlp sustain and support them to continue trading during this critical period for the economy.”
In the Autumn Statement 2022, the Chancellor of the Exchequer committed to provide 75% business rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors for the 2023 to 2024 tax year, up to a maximum of £110,000 of relief per business.