Along with colleagues on the Scottish Parliament Local Government and Communities Committee, Kenneth Gibson MSP met with representatives from independent schools earlier this week at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh.
The purpose of the visit was for MSPs to hear first-hand about independent schools’ concerns regarding proposed changes to business rates.
The Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, also known as “Business Rates Bill”, proposes a number of reforms, including the end of the right for most independent schools to claim charitable relief from business rates.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“The issue of charitable relief for independent schools has drawn much attention. While I am inclined to favour the withdrawal of this relief to put them on a more equal footing with other businesses and state schools, it is important to recognise and really listen to the concerns these schools have.
“The changes we discussed during the visit are just one aspect of a Bill that proposes a number of reforms to what is the second highest revenue raising tax devolved to Scotland. It is therefore vital that we hear views from all sides before drawing any firm conclusions.”
The Local Government and Communities Committee has been appointed lead Committee on the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, a Bill to reform various aspects of non-domestic rates (also called business rates).
The Bill arises from an independent review of non-domestic rates (the Barclay Review) and an SNP Government consultation.
More information on the Committee’s scrutiny of the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill can be found on the Scottish Parliament website at: