The Scottish grocery trade is treating with caution proposals to return control of business rates to local councils.
The Reform Scotland Report Local Taxes calls for Scotland’s local authorities to have greater control over tax revenue, including control over the poundage for business rates.
Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) chief executive, John Drummond, said: “Reform Scotland is in the vanguard of the policy debate in Scotland and respected for their often radical but considered research. However their latest calls to return control of business rates to councils should be treated with caution.
“This is an argument which may work well on the pages of an academic journal on fiscal federalism but fails to account for the realities of local authority politics in Scotland and the consequences for Scottish businesses.
“At a time when an alarming number of local authorities have singularly failed to raise and administer something as simple as licensing fees and when licence holders are calling for more uniformity across local authorities we don’t believe it is time to hand councils control of another revenue raising lever.
“The fact is our members simply wouldn’t relish the thought of administering 32 different local tax regimes and which, experience tells us, would increase costs and do little to support businesses any more than the current powers local authorities have but fail to adequately utilise.”