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Business rates rise capped

BUSINESS rates increases will be capped at a below-inflation 2% next year, Finance Secretary John Swinney has announced.

The move, which follows a similar promise to firms by George Osborne in his Autumn Statement last week, was welcomed by business leaders.

In a separate initiative designed to protect firms' competitiveness, Mr Swinney also announced the Scottish Government's small business bonus scheme would be extended, handing an extra 4000 firms a rates discount until 2016.

Unveiling his plans at Holyrood, Mr Swinney said matching England's rates cap would maintain a competitive advantage and make the country the best place to do business.

CBI Scotland's senior policy ­executive Laura McMahon said the rate would ensure the vast majority of Scottish firms were not put at a cost disadvantage compared with those in England.

Business leaders, however, joined the Scots Tories in criticising the Scottish Government's commitment to the large retail levy, which burdens super­markets selling alcohol and tobacco.

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Local government

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