SCOTLAND’s shopping lobby has renewed its calls to scrap a tax its English counterparts do not have to pay.

The Scottish Retail Consortium attacked the SNP for keeping the so-called large businesses rates supplement for non-domestic rates as the new year brought new rises.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has confirmed revenues from the levy will go up again this coming financial year, though by far less than current inflation.

Business groups have long argued the payments – which applies to firms owning large premises whether they are “big business” or not – was putting Scotland at a competitive disadvantage.

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The SRC’s David Lonsdale said: “Firms operating from 22,000 medium-sized and larger premises in Scotland are set to stump up almost £64 million more than their counterparts or competitors down south in the coming year, due to our higher supplement.

“Making Scotland a more expensive location to do business than elsewhere in the UK sits uncomfortably with the devolved administration’s aim of having the most competitive rates regime in the UK, as well as their plans to promote town centres.”

The Herald led a campaign highlighting the extra burdens being imposed on businesses and the SNP faced a revolt of business ratepayers, all of which led Mr Mackay last February to announce a £45m package of relief after rates revaluations hit businesses, including shops and pubs. That was followed in the summer by a review by Ken Barclay, a former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman, into the whole business rates regime. Mr Barclay questioned the large business rates supplement, suggesting it was “damaging perceptions” of Scotland.

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Mr Lonsdale said he wanted a “more ambitious timetable for ending this Scotland- only surcharge and restoring a level playing field with England”.

A Government spokeswoman suggested willingness to phase out the supplement, though not as fast as business leaders want.

She said: “We recently accepted the vast majority of the recommendations of the Barclay review of non-domestic rates, going beyond Barclay with additional pro-growth measures in a package widely welcomed by business.

“We will consider the large business supplement at future Budgets in line with the timetable suggested by Barclay, while continuing to provide the most competitive rates relief in the UK, including the Small Business Bonus Scheme, which alone lifts 100,000 properties out of rates altogether.”

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Mr Mackay, in a written answer to the Tory MSP Dean Lockhart, said the total bill for the supplement would rise from £126m to more than £127m in 2018-19.