Property industry welcomes business rates support to develop the economy

12 Sep 2017

The Scottish property industry received a welcome boost today as Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced he would go further than the proposals of the Barclay Review.

The Scottish Government is to give a much-needed lift to the Scottish commercial property development sector by not applying business rates until a development has secured business tenants for new developments.

Following today’s Ministerial Statement on the Scottish Government’s response to the Barclay Review on Business Rates, David Melhuish, Director of the Scottish Property Federation, said:

“The decision to not apply business rates for speculative development until the point of first occupation by a new business, is a major shot in the arm for Scottish developers vying for wider UK and international investment for Scottish commercial property.  This measure gives developers a real advantage in vying for wider UK or international capital to support investment in Scottish jobs and the wider economy.

“Removing the risk of vacant rates for new development, added to the incentives under the Barclay business growth accelerator proposals, provides certainty for investors of nil rates liabilities until they have an income stream from the development, therefore providing a much-need boost for the competitiveness of the Scottish development sector.”

SPF also welcomed the extension by a year of the cap on business rates rises for the hospitality sector and offices hit by the downturn in the North-East economy.

The SPF did express concerns with proposals from the Barclay Review on listed buildings and further tax penalties on long term empty properties.  The loss of rates relief after two years for complex listed building projects may make investors think twice about re-developing such buildings and this is something that we will continue to raise with Ministers as the Barclay Review is implemented. 



About the Scottish Property Federation

As a membership organisation, the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) is the voice of Scotland’s real estate industry.  Established in 2007, SPF represents 185 organisations operating in Scotland.   We include among our members: property investors including major institutional funds, developers, landlords of commercial and residential property, and professional property consultants and advisers.  The SPF works closely with those who advise and decide on public policy in Scotland to ensure that they are aware of the consequences of their decisions for the property industry and wider economy.  

As part of the British Property Federation we also benefit from close links with the leading UK property companies and investors in the UK as well as the BPF's contacts with Westminster.

For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @ScotPropFed.