Glasgow companies that avoid paying business rates will be named and shamed by the city council in an attempt to make them cough up.

Some firms are using legal loopholes to dodge paying bills, in some cases costing the city in some cases hundreds of thousands of pounds in non-domestic rates income.

A new corporate debt policy is expected to be agreed by councillors to crack down on non-payers.

If firms have not paid despite repeated requests and recovery action, this will be made public – similar to how the UK Government releases details of those who default on their tax liabilities.

Changes to business rates in the Barclay Review last year should close some loopholes. But for companies that still find ways of not paying, 
the council will let the public and, in doing so, customers know.

Business rates are set by the Scottish Government, collected by the councils into a shared Scottish pot and redistributed back to authoritiescouncils based on population and need.

Along with council tax, non domestic rates form a significant share of the income Glasgow City Council relies on to provide services.

Last year the city was allocated £340.8 million in business rates.

City Treasurer Allan Gow said people had a right to know if firms taking their money are not then paying their fare share of tax.

Mr Gow said: “We always try and work constructively with businesses that encounter problems with rates, but it is an open secret that a minority of firms exploit legal loopholes to walk away from tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of debt, over and over again.

“That’s not fair on the majority of responsible businesses who do contribute, or on customers who rely on frontline public services.

“While the law can’t always help us stop these firms from gaming the system, we can give communities and consumers the information we have and let them make up their own minds about that kind of behaviour.”

The new policy while taking a hard line on business rate defaulters is taking a new approach to personal debt owed to the council.

It recognises in some cases there are various reasons why people get into debt with for example council tax.

Instead of rushing to enforcement to recover debt the new policy states it will “focus on providing help to break the cycle of debt”.

Councillor Gow added: “Of course, there are cases when people can but refuse to pay, and we still have the power to take action when necessary, but the offer of support comes first.”