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Low inflation must prompt rethink on business rates rises

Commenting on the release of official data which shows that the CPI rate of inflation fell to 0.5% in the year to December, Liz Cameron, Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Falling fuel and energy prices have contributed in large measure to this latest fall in inflation, which at 0.5% is now at its lowest level for 15 years.  Against this background, it is manifestly unfair that the Scottish Government plans to increase the Business Rates multiplier by 2% in April this year – in other words, by four times the current rate of inflation.

“The Scottish Budget for 2015-16 has not yet been passed by the Scottish Parliament, so there is still time to revisit this to address the planned increase in Business Rates.  Our contention is that Business Rates should be frozen at their current levels until the delayed revaluation date of 2017.  This would be fair, stabilise costs and allow business to plan for the future with confidence.

“Low levels of inflation should also ensure that future rises in interest rates are pushed back still further, with the Bank of England’s inflation projections showing that it is likely to remain below target for the remainder of 2015.”