Salmon industry trade body Salmon Scotland has joined 15 other representative groups of the Scottish food and beverage sector in voicing alarm over a surtax on retailers currently being considered by the Scottish government.
Representing a wide array of the Scottish food and beverage industry, the organizations, including the Scottish Retail Consortium, Scottish Financial Enterprise, and the Scotch Whisky Association, have jointly written to Scotland’s Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison ahead of the Stage 1 debate and vote on the upcoming Scottish budget. They expressed their concern over the implications the surtax could have on nationwide commerce.
The group pointed out that under the proposed plans, the business rate for medium-sized and larger commercial premises in Scotland – some 22,100 operations across all sectors – would soar to a 25-year high from April onward.
It’s too soon to fully grasp the proposal’s direct impact, Salmon Scotland Chief Executive Tavish Scott told SeafoodSource, but there’s a “growing concern that Scotland is closed for business.”
“Business has been promised a ‘reset’ by the government, and a new business rate surtax would fly in the face of that,” he said. “While a direct impact on the salmon sector is not yet clear, any moves to increase the general tax burden on businesses dampens economic growth, which in turn has a major impact on all companies operating in Scotland.”
The industry groups’ letter calls for the government to stimulate greater levels of private-sector investment, calling it “crucial” to lifting Scotland’s economic growth and subsequently generating the jobs, wealth, and tax revenues needed to support public services.
“It is profoundly concerning that new taxes on business are being countenanced in such an arbitrary way and with apparently little regard to trading or economic conditions,” they wrote.
The organizations said the proposed surtax directly contradicted a … 
Photo courtesy of Shoesmith Drones/Shutterstock

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