A SEVENTH-generation Scottish iron foundry facing unaffordable bills amid a cost of doing business crisis has rubbished this week’s UK Government energy proposals.

The damning verdict delivered by one of Scotland’s oldest family businesses on the energy plan as it faces a rise in costs from £13,000 to £120,000 a month is that “the price cap makes no difference”.

It came as the majority of the policy announcements look set to have a limited or negative impact on businesses and consumers north of the Border.

Many were aghast at the UK Government gambling on growth with a plan that looks to be based on the discounted “trickle down” theory.

Concerns were raised by Labour over the scrutiny of the mini-budget by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility not being made available. It is the largest series of taxation cuts since the 1970s.

Martyn Day, the SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, earlier called on Prime Minister Liz Truss to help heavy energy users, like Bo’ness-based Ballantine’s Castings, with more support.

HeraldScotland: Inside Ballantine Castings, Bo'ness. Image: Colin MearnsInside Ballantine Castings, Bo'ness. Image: Colin Mearns (Image: newsquest)

The UK Government said it would set a supported wholesale price no higher than 21.1p per kilowatt month under the plan.

It fell flat for Ballantine’s, in operation since the 1820s, who said after this week’s announcement: “Sadly the price cap makes no difference. It is on wholesale price only.”

It failed to counter the 550 per cent increase on its standing charge, Ballantine said, as it still faces a rate “significantly over 40p per kWH”.

Elsewhere, the Scottish Retail Consortium said that “many of the announcements will only have a limited impact on Scottish consumers and businesses”.

HeraldScotland: Ballantine's said its monthly costs are rising almost tenfold. Image: Colin MearnsBallantine's said its monthly costs are rising almost tenfold. Image: Colin Mearns

Daniel Hough, financial planner at Brewin Dolphin, said: “The changes to the tax regime made by the Chancellor in today’s budget will likely put further pressure on the Scottish Government to change Scotland’s tax system

"No matter what you earn, you are now worse off in Scotland than you would be in other parts of the UK.

“The lowering of the basic income tax rate to 19% now applies from the nil rate of £12,570 up to salaries of £50,270. In Scotland the 19% rate only applies to salaries between £12,571 and £14,732, increasing to 20% for those earning £14,733 to £25,688 and then 21% to £43,662.

“Scrapping the additional rate will also leave those affected paying much more tax in Scotland than they would in other parts of the UK, which could be significant."

HeraldScotland: Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng during a visit to Berkeley Modular in Kent. Image: Dylan Martinez/PA WirePrime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng during a visit to Berkeley Modular in Kent. Image: Dylan Martinez/PA Wire (Image: PA)

Among the raft of their own policies which seem to have recently gone off was the raising of corporation tax. Business editor Ian McConnell drills into this in his Called to Account column this week.

“Former chancellor Rishi Sunak, of course, made a good decision in his March 2021 Budget in deciding to raise the main rate of corporation tax from 19 per cent to 25% from April next year,” he writes. “After all, this measure would bring in many billions of pounds a year and the Tories’ previous dramatic cutting of the rate from 28% after they came to power in 2010 did not trigger the investment they promised.”

Deputy business editor Scott Wright pointed to the success Scotland has had in attracting financial services institutions.

“JPMorgan Chase underlined its long-term commitment to Glasgow as it prepares to move to a huge new base in the city centre,” he writes. “And other major financial institutions have seen fit to base large operations in the city.”

He notes: “These include fellow American giant Morgan Stanley, which employs around 1,600 people in the city, and Barclays, which in recent years has developed a major new campus on the south side of the river.”

Also this week, Scottish financial solutions provider Opulus took over Glasgow-based Nicolson Accountancy in its largest acquisition since launching at the end of last year, writes business correspondent Kristy Dorsey.