Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has backed the Scottish Government’s proposals on business rates, after Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced a wide-ranging relief scheme that will offer strong support to local businesses.

The complete package of Scottish Government relief will ensure that 70% of Falkirk businesses will see either no change or a decrease in their bill. Many will pay nothing at all thanks to the Small Business Bonus scheme, which will be extended.

The Scottish Government had already taken action to reduce the rates poundage to help businesses who have seen a revaluation.

The additional relief proposals will provide support for hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes, which had seen their rates rise the steepest following the 2015 revaluation. Any rises in this sector will be capped at 12.5%, providing substantial support to the tourism and hospitality industries in Falkirk.

Mr Matheson said: “This announcement by the Scottish Government proves once again the SNP’s commitment to local businesses across Falkirk, with the substantial package of support ensuring that many businesses will not see any rise in the rates that they pay.

“The support for the tourism and hospitality sectors is very welcome. These industries were left facing substantial hikes in their rates bills but the 12.5% cap provides excellent support to hotels, pubs, restaurants and cafes throughout Falkirk district.

“The extension to the Small Business Bonus will see more than 100,000 firms across Scotland pay no rates whatsoever, which is a strong package of support for local businesses. It comes in addition to other funding offered in the Scottish Government’s budget, including the £500million Scottish Growth Scheme, and action taken to reduce the rates poundage.

“This relief package shows that only the SNP are interested in taking decisive action to support communities and businesses, whilst the Tories chase cheap headlines by carping from the side-lines.

“Overall, 70% of businesses in Falkirk will see either a decrease or no change in the bills that they pay – helping to protect local jobs and support local firms.”