Scottish Conservative candidate Colin Clark has called for a business rates freeze to help small and medium sized companies in Inverurie during challenging economic times.
Local farmer and businessman Mr Clark, who is standing for election to Aberdeenshire Council in November’s by-election for Inverurie and District, said that SNP policy is harming local firms.
The Scottish Government has doubled the large business supplement – which affects High Street shops and hotels as well as companies with bigger premises.
The increase will cost Aberdeenshire businesses £2.1million this year, according to the government’s own estimates.
The Scottish Conservatives have said that businesses in Scotland should not be taxed any higher than those in England. However, research by the party this week has shown that with new tax-raising powers coming to the Scottish Parliament, SNP policy will mean an extra £1billion tax bill for Scottish people and businesses.
Mr Clark said: “Inverurie has a thriving town centre with a strong High Street shopping culture, but local firms are being squeezed by SNP tax policy.
“We should be supporting our employers, especially during the current downturn in the north east economy.
“Many of these are family firms with strong links to the local area, but they are being hit with ever-increasing bills.
“I want to see a freeze on business rates to offer some relief to these companies which are finding it tough at the moment.
“At the moment, it seems the SNP see the north east and towns like Inverurie as a cash cow, with rising income tax, stamp duty and business rates providing a triple whammy of higher bills.”
Mr Clark's position has been supported by Judy Whyte of Mitchell's Dairy.
She said that a "level playing field" is required in order to sustain the town centre for the future.