We have already committed significant funds to assist some businesses facing massive business rates hikes.
We recognise that this, along with the Scottish Government’s 11th hour interventions, are for one year only.
We will study the outcome of the Barclay Review into Business Rates but have little confidence it will come forward with recommendations for a complete modernisation of this system of local business taxation.
We will work with partners and businesses to lobby strongly for the Scottish Government to replace this 19th-century tax with a levy fit for the 21st Century.
We will certainly consider financial support in future years but clearly this will depend on our grant settlement.
In February, we ensured that £3 million could be set aside to support local businesses impacted by the increased business rates.
We were partners in developing an innovative business rates mitigation scheme, taking action while others took none.
It was important to us that childcare providers were included in this scheme, as they have few options about how to increase their income.
There is, however, a limit to the resources which a local authority has to mitigate increased rates and the Scottish Government must act too.
We are therefore looking to the Barclay Review into business rates for proper reform of the whole system.
We fought to get the current increases stopped or at least phased in until a review was completed.
We supported the limited relief scheme that was put in place but we wanted to spend even more money on that.
It shouldn’t be left to councils to pick up the pieces on this.
The system is broken and needs fixed quickly.
The various stop-gap measures put in by the Scottish Government and the council are one year sticking plasters.
A radical solution is required but our Government doesn’t seem to do radical as witnessed by their failure to reform or replace the council tax.
We supported the council’s package of relief, but we concede this is a national issue of rates and business taxation reform.
It can only be solved, with the balance of taxation coming to local authorities and not being solely directed by either Westminster or Scottish Governments.
Local taxation for local service. The system is broken and it needs fixed.
The SNP-led administration was the only grouping in Aberdeenshire to put some money where our mouths were on business rates and to make money available in the council budget for a local relief scheme, which reduced by 50% the increases which businesses with rateable values of up to £120,000 were facing.
The scheme has been widely welcomed and in addition to the thousands of North-east businesses which already pay nothing at all thanks to the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme, this will help to support a very large number of businesses to transition through the revaluation and appeals process.
The Barclay Review set in train by the Scottish Government is key to long-term reform of the system – we will be watching the outcome of the review closely and making sure that the interests of North-east businesses large and small are to the fore in how Ministers respond.