Figures from the SNP Government show that the number of private-sector firms in Scotland is at a record level.
Across Scotland the number has risen by more than a quarter from 279,940 in 2007 to 356,550 in 2019.
However, Kenneth Gibson MSP has warned that could be negated by amendment 9 to the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill. Moved by the Greens and backed the Tories and Labour this amendment passed at Stage 2 of the Bill, being opposed by the three SNP MSPs on the Local Government and Communities Committee, including Kenneth Gibson. This amendment puts the power to set rates in the hands of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, removing over £308 million of rates relief.
Such a move is strongly opposed by groups ranging from the Federation of Small Businesses and Scottish Retail Consortium to the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.
Kenneth Gibson said:
"Scotland's businesses are thriving and the rise has been driven in particular by the success of our small business start-ups.
“The SNP is absolutely committed to helping businesses to launch and grow, while our Small Business Bonus Scheme is helping support record numbers reduce their rates bill. As a result, a majority of Scottish businesses benefit from the lowest poundage anywhere in the UK and incentives that only exist in Scotland.
"Plans to ditch this support would deliver a body blow to Scottish business and put at risk the delivery of local services. The Tories and Labour must reverse their positions on this disastrous move at the final stage of the Bill.
“At this time, the SNP is the only party standing up for Scottish business."
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP has stated that amendment 9, if not repealed at Stage 3 of the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, "would devastate Scottish business".
The Bill has important, positive benefits. It will restrict relief on empty listed buildings to two years, change rates revaluations from every five to three years and remove charitable status rates relief for mainstream independent schools.