More than 250 businesses across the Western Isles are still waiting to learn the outcome of their business rates appeals, almost two years after the new valuations were issued.

New SNP Government figures published today show that as of 31st December 2018, of the 378 who appealed their revaluation across the area, 263 are still waiting for a decision from the assessor.

That means that only 30% of businesses who appealed have been informed of the assessors decision, leaving a total of £7 million in outstanding rateable value. 

Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has said that the figures demonstrate that the ability of businesses to plan their outgoings is being put at risk.

Donald said: “Businesses need to be able to plan for their outgoings and this failure by the SNP Government to properly prepare for appeals represents a major failure on its part. It is unbelievable that over 250 enterprises from Lewis to Barra are still waiting for a definitive reply. The response rate is one of the very worst in Scotland.

“Ministers in Holyrood should start speaking to businesses in the Western Isles about the challenges they are facing. These businesses are the lifeblood of the economy in the islands and it is wrong that they have been left in limbo in this manner.

“The SNP Government really needs to do better to support our business community and I will be pressing them very hard to sort this matter out.”

The figures are drawn from the Scottish Government’s Non-Domestic Rates revaluation appeals statistics, Scotland, 2018-19 Quarter 3 published on Wednesday 27th February 2019 which can be accessed here: https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Local-Government-Finance/NDR-Rates-Relief/Appeals2018-19Q3