The finance minister for Scotland announced early in 2017 that ratepayers in the hospitality sector including hotels, restaurants, cafes and pubs would benefit from a cap of 12.5% on rates bill increases.
The one-year cap was introduced as part of an emergency bailout to help small and struggling businesses, amid concerns over the hospitality sector when revaluations of commercial premises took effect on 1st April 2017. The new rateable values will come into effect in years two to five.
A freedom of information request has revealed that the Trump Turnberry Hotel received property tax rate relief of £109,530 for the year ending December 2015. The benefit equates to a 13.5% cut in its annual business rates (which are £811,800 before relief). In the same year, the hotel recorded a turnover of £11.4 million and gross profit of £4.1 million.
In Scotland, all property values are assessed at the same point in time, known as the ‘tone date’, and the last revaluation date was 1st April 2015. The previous tone date was 1st April 2008 – prior to the economic downturn – meaning that businesses have paid rates since then based on the previous rateable values which did not reflect the downturn in rental values and business.
As a consequence of the cap, 8,500 business and 100,000 small business properties (half of all properties) have paid no rates. The rebate does not discriminate between profitable and unprofitable companies, so it is not just struggling businesses that have benefited.
The Scottish Golf Tourism Week will be hosted at Trump Turnberry in October 2017, and will receive funding from the Scottish taxpayer. Over 200 delegates are expected at the event which introduces suppliers to tour operators with the aim of ‘hitting the £300 million target for the value which golf tourism brings to the Scottish economy’. The luxury hotel and golf course in Ayrshire, Scotland, charges £360 for a basic room and over £700 per night for a suite.