BUSINESSES have launched a campaign to make the Scottish Government reverse its decision not to reassess their rates until 2017.

A petition, backed by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, has been launched to try to convince ministers to change their minds over a decision to follow the Westminster Government and not carry out a revaluation for four years.

The last rates revaluation was carried out in 2008, before the full extent of the economic downturn became apparent, and firms say they are being hurt economically as they pay rents that were decided when times were better.

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They are hoping to convince MSPs to look again at the decision, saying rental values have dropped by almost one-quarter since rates were last set.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "It is bad enough the 2008 revaluation of business rates was predicated upon notional rents immediately before the Scottish economy entered the longest and deepest recession in modern history – a recession we continue to feel the effects of some five years later – but the decision by the Scottish Government to prolong these false valuations still further flies in the face of common sense.

"Scotland needs a rating system that reflects the challenges of doing business in Scotland today, not one based upon the pre-recession boom years."

The Scottish Government has said the delay is part of its "commitment to a competitive business environment".