Council agrees rates relief deal for local businesses

The business rates relief scheme was approved by the full council
The business rates relief scheme was approved by the full council

Councillors have agreed measures to ease the burden on firms in Aberdeenshire impacted by huge rises in rates.

The authority had ringfenced £3million to be used as relief.

The council, meeting on Thursday, approved the assistance, supporting around 1200 businesses.

Council co-leader Richard Thomson said: “We have listened to businesses and examined the evidence.

“We have a scheme that is easy to administer and implement, complementary to other relief schemes and will target support where it can do the most good.”

Two amendments were accepted.

The first from opposition group leader Jim Gifford was to ask Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to guarantee that the estimated £23 million extra that will be collected over and above the non-domestic rates allocation on the settlement will stay in Aberdeenshire.

He further asked that the Minister guarantee that an adjustment will not be made to the Revenue Support Grant to compensate for the extra revenue raised, nor will it be recovered in subsequent years.

The other amendment, an addition from Councillor Martin Ford, was to agree to support businesses in line with the North East Regional Economic Strategy with the balance of enabling funding.

Also to use up to £50,000 to develop the business case to decriminalise on-street parking as a measure that would improve the management and vitality of town centres.