Fergus Ewing MSP rejects further help for B&Bs

Edward Mountain MSP today called on the Scottish Government to announce a council tax holiday for B&Bs which do not pay business rates.

The Highlands and Islands MSP is a vocal campaigner on the issue of supporting Highland tourism and, more recently, campaigned to secure a new £3 million fund from the Scottish Government for B&Bs without business bank accounts.

During today’s Virtual Scottish Parliament Questions on Tourism, Edward Mountain asked:

“I would like to thank the Cabinet Secretary for responding to my campaign to support small B&Bs who don’t pay business rates. Will he also support my campaign to give small B&Bs a 100% council tax relief because they won’t benefit from 100% business rates relief?

The Cabinet Secretary replied:

“We don’t grant relief for council tax for other business people who pay business rates so I think it would be somewhat anomalous and a bit of a surprising commitment from the Scottish Conservative Party to grant personal relief for one group in society for council tax, when other hardworking business people pay their own council tax. No, I’m afraid to be candid, I won’t be supporting that campaign. I don’t know how much it costs or whether it is an official Scottish Conservative campaign. I’ll be interested to find out.”

Following Virtual Questions Edward Mountain MSP said:

“Fergus Ewing should stop worrying about what is and what isn’t party policy and get on with helping B&Bs that are still suffering and will continue to suffer well into next year’s tourist season.

B&Bs that pay business rates have already received 100 per cent business rates relief and smaller B&Bs should receive the equivalent level of support, via a 100 per cent council tax relief.

Our small B&Bs in the Highlands need help and they will be sorely disappointed with Fergus Ewing’s complete refusal to offer vital assistance.”