Small businesses benefit from bonus scheme

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The Small Business Bonus Scheme delivered average savings of more than £1,400 for companies in Scotland last year, new figures have revealed.

In Aberdeen, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh, Inverclyde and South Lanarkshire small companies benefiting from the scheme saved more than £1,700 on average in 2009-10, while in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire the figure was over £1,800.


The Small Business Bonus Scheme delivered average savings of more than £1,400 for companies in Scotland last year, new figures have revealed.

In Aberdeen, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh, Inverclyde and South Lanarkshire small companies benefiting from the scheme saved more than £1,700 on average in 2009-10, while in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire the figure was over £1,800.

The new findings follow recent figures showing that the number of Scottish small business properties benefiting from business rates relief packages had risen by 18 per cent over the year to around 110,500. Of these, 74,000 were business properties that paid zero or reduced business rates due to the Small Business Bonus Scheme in 2009-10 – up from 64,000 recipients the year before.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

“Scotland’s small businesses have a vital role to play as we look to sustain economic recovery and build our economy for long-term success.

“The Small Business Bonus Scheme is continuing to help tens of thousands of small Scottish companies, with average annual savings of over £1,400 – money which can now be invested in those businesses.

“With increased thresholds introduced this year even more firms will be able to reap the benefits.”

The Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) was introduced by the Scottish Government in April 2008 to provide non-domestic rates relief for small companies in Scotland.

Eligibility for SBBS relief is determined on the basis of rateable value (RV) of all properties within a business. Business properties with an RV of up to £8,000 were eligible to pay no rates at all in 2009-10. For the current year, this 100 per cent relief now applies to properties with an RV of up to £10,000. The threshold for 50 per cent relief was increased from £10,000 to £12,000, and for 25 per cent relief from £15,000 to £18,000.

Central Scotland MSP Christina McKelvie said:

“This is excellent news for businesses across Scotland.

“The small business bonus has helped keep corner shops and small manufacturing firms open during the recession and now has a key role to play in ensuring Scotland recovers strongly.

“In my own area businesses in North Lanarkshire have saved an average of £3210 and £3045 in South Lanarkshire in the first two years of the scheme with another year’s bonus available this year.

“While there are serious budget cuts heading to Scotland from Westminster the Small business bonus is something I hope we are able to sustain and that I know from speaking to small businesses in my region that would be very welcome.

“The Small business bonus is one of the few direct financial measures the Scottish Government can take within its current powers to help boost our economy.  It is a sign of what more could be done to support Scotland’s economy and offer an alternative to the dismal decade of cuts ahead if the Scottish Parliament had the full responsibilities of financial independence.”

In addition to the uplift in thresholds, the scheme was expanded from April 2010 to allow a business with two or more properties with a cumulative rateable value of £25,000 or less to qualify for relief of 25 per cent on individual properties with rateable values of up to £18,000.

Other types of non-domestic rates relief include:

  • Charities relief (including community amateur sports clubs)
  • Empty property
  • Disabled persons relief
  • Rural rates relief
  • Religious property
  • Renewable energy generators

Any business which considers they may be eligible for SBBS or any other relief should contact their local council to discuss and request an application form.

The Scottish Government published take up statistics for the Small Business Bonus Scheme in August.