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Warning over threat to business support in Stirling

SNP candidate Alyn Smith and Finance Secretary Derek Mackay have warned that amendments to business rates legislation could have a severe impact on business support in Stirling.

 Derek Mackay and Alyn Smith making a coffee at Groundhouse on King Street, Stirling with manager Diane.

Derek Mackay and Alyn Smith making a coffee at Groundhouse on King Street, Stirling with manager Diane.

The Tories, Labour and Greens all backed an amendment (which passed) that would take control over business rates relief away from the Scottish Government.

Currently, over 2,500 small businesses in the Stirling area pay no rates whatsoever due to the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

The majority of small businesses in Scotland benefit from the lowest poundage rate anywhere in the UK.

Mr Mackay joined SNP candidate for Stirling Alyn Smith this week on the election campaign, and spoke to small business owners and managers.

Commenting, Derek Mackay said:

“This move has caused serious concern amongst the small business community, including from the Federation of Small Businesses, CBI Scotland and the Scottish Retail Consortium.

“Whilst this particular Bill still has some way to go in Parliament, actions like these from opposition parties do not give confidence to business owners and employees up and down the country.

“Whilst in Stirling, I listened to the concerns of small businesses, including those on the high street. The Scottish Government offers the fairest deal on non-domestic rates in the UK.

“This election is a chance to elect an MP who will champion those interests. I was delighted to have joined Alyn Smith on the campaign trail. Stirling is a great place to do business, but has so much potential yet to be unleashed.

“With people like Alyn working hard on behalf of people here, we can do great things for this area.”

Alyn Smith added:

“It was great to welcome Derek to Stirling, and to give small businesses in the area a chance to speak to both of us ahead of next week’s poll.

“This election has our economy front and centre. Brexit threatens local businesses, but everyday bread and butter issues like Business Rates also has a real impact.

“I’ll work hard on behalf of local employers here in Stirling if elected as the MP for the area next week. This is a great area, and positive engagement whilst leaving politics at the door is how we are going to make this area even better.”

Derek Mackay and Alyn Smith in St Ninians