Chancellor Philip Hammond is coming under pressure from the hospitality sector to act to ease business rates.
The pre-Budget call came from the British Hospitality Association as the Scottish parliament introduced a 12.5% cap on business rates for hotels, pubs and restaurants.
Scotland’s finance secretary Derek Mackay told MSPs that almost 8,500 hotels, pubs, restaurants, cafes and other businesses in the hospitality sector would benefit from a cap on any increase to bills of 12.5%.
Hotels in Scotland had been facing an average hike of 37%, far higher than other sectors.
The Scottish Tourism Alliance, which had been campaigning for a reversal in the proposals to increase business rates, described the announcement as “hugely encouraging news”.
A spokeswoman said: “We know that it will be welcomed by tourism businesses across Scotland, businesses which yesterday were facing serious financial challenges post-April and in many cases, closure and the loss of many jobs.
“Today’s announcement underlines and highlights the government’s support for our industry and acknowledges the importance of tourism as the main economic driver in Scotland.”
BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “We urge the UK chancellor to follow the Scottish government’s lead and cap business rates for hospitality and tourism businesses in both England and Wales to 12.5%.
“The industry, the fourth largest in the UK, is facing a barrage of increased costs and any help to support SMEs, who make up 80% of our sector, is very welcome.
“Many hospitality and tourism business are ‘JAMS’ – the just about managing’s – and we hope that the chancellor takes the opportunity in next month’s Budget to support them and the 4.5 million jobs our industry provides.”
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