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Spring 2020 - Scotland

No nation has as many shifts and potential changes to the rating system currently in play. Here’s a brief précis of the measures announced in last month’s Scottish Budget:

A new UBT tier and revised Multiplyers

Occupiers of medium-sized properties will benefit from the introduction of a new middle-tier UBR rate. While equating to a discount of just £1,235 at most, it is better than nothing. UBR rates for 2020/21 have been confirmed as:

  • Rateable value below £51,000: 49.8p
  • Rateable value between £51,000 and £95,000: 51.1p
  • Rateable value over £95,000: 52.4p

Please get in touch with our team to understand the impact on your liabilities next financial year.


Amendments to reliefs

The Budget also included a number of amendments to the various reliefs, not all of which were positive.


  • Extension of 100% relief for Enterprise Areas until 31st March 2022
  • Introduction of a 70-day requirement of actual letting a self-catering property in order to be considered Non-Domestic and liable for business rates rather than council tax
  • Introduction of a new 100% relief for ‘reverse vending machines’ from 1st April 2020, assisting the Deposit Return Scheme and supporting efforts to tackle climate change
  • The guarantee of district heating relief until 2032


  • An amendment to the reset period for Empty Property Relief from six weeks to six months
  • A restriction of the Small Business Bonus Scheme to only occupied properties


Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill

There are a number of impending legislative changes that have been introduced by the Scottish Government with the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill which will have a significant impact not only on ratepayers but also to anyone who has an interest in or holds information regarding properties in Scotland.

The Bill paves the way for new procedures for the 2022 Revaluation but also provides for significantly increased powers to obtain information for the Scottish Assessors and Local Authorities to be introduced from 1st April 2020. Key areas covered by the bill include:

  • Civil Penalties for non-compliance with rent return forms

The new procedure allows for civil penalties which can escalate up to as much as 50% of the rateable value of the property to which the request related. Our separate update on this important change and the measures that need to be taken to prepare for it can be found here.

  • A new appeal process for the 2022 Revaluation

This is expected to be a two-stage process with some similarities to the “Check, Challenge, Appeal” process introduced in England for the 2017 Revaluation. There will be further consultation later in the year which will provide us with a more detailed understanding of how the Government wants the system to work. We are ready to respond and will lobby hard to try to avoid some of the problems experienced by ratepayers in England under CCA.

  • Updating the legislation regarding material changes

This change will prevent ratepayers form being able to make appeals on the grounds of “economic or physical changes” to the extent that material changes will only be successful where the property has been directly affected.

  • Charitable Relief for Independent Schools

From 1st September 2020 private schools will no longer be able to benefit from charitable rate relief, with some exceptions (such as special music schools etc).

  • Contribution to net-zero emissions target

It is anticipated that new reliefs and exemptions will be introduced for certain classes of property that contribute to cutting down emissions.


We will report further on these changes as the Bill progresses and the consultation process continues.

Key Contacts

View full team

Graham Howarth


Ken Thurtell


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