It became apparent that member retailers in Scotland are experiencing a disadvantage over their counterparts south of the border. The business rates system in Scotland has not only see some significant increases over the last couple of years, but garden retailers who grow plants for subsequent sale are finding their non-retailing growing areas are also being included in their rateable values. Couple that with an overloaded appeals system, the HTA thought it prudent to talk to influencers about it and sought a meeting with Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance, who is the minister with responsibility for business rates in Scotland.
The meeting went very well with HTA Chairman, James Barnes, securing an undertaking from the minister to look at the disparity in the application of the law not only between England and Scotland, but also between regions in Scotland. She also stated she will be overseeing an imminent shake-up of the appeals system to ensure no business experiences the lengthy delays they have been apparent recently.