Falkirk children’s nurseries could be among those claimed set to benefit from a raft of changes to the rating system from Monday,
Eligible childcare day nurseries will receive up to 100 per cent relief, in a move designed to support nursery provision by reducing overheads for nursery owners.
From April 1 there will be no business rates for unoccupied new properties and tenants who take them on will be rates-free for the first year.
The Scottish Government says the move will stimulate the economy, reduce red tape, improve transparency and reduce tax avoidance.
Where properties are improved, they will not pay any additional rates as a result of the improvement for 12 months.
This measure alone is predicted set to save the sector around £6million last year, and follows repeated claims from some nursery owners that soaring overheads were undermining their ability to operate.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “These changes – many of which are unique to Scotland - will help our businesses to continue to thrive while also ensuring they make an appropriate contribution to important local services.
“The changes we put in place – in many ways going further than the Barclay recommendations – also allowed us to offer wider benefits, such as supporting the expansion in funded early learning and childcare entitlement with the relief for nurseries”.
Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor for the Federation of Small Business, said: “These new measures from the Scottish Government take us a step closer to developing a fairer, smarter rates system.
“FSB made the case for these changes in our submission to the recent rates review, and we’re pleased to see Ministers turn them into real help for local firms.
“Local nurseries are a prime example of smaller businesses that are fundamental to the success of their local community and economy.
“This new rates help should ensure that they aren’t penalised because they operate from specialised premises.
“At FSB, we’re firmly of the belief that if a business makes an improvement to their property they should be given an opportunity to recoup their costs before facing a higher bill.
“The Scottish Government’s new business accelerator relief does exactly that.”