5 February 2020

Scottish Labour will oppose the proposed amendments to the Non-Domestic Rates bill to include devolution of non-domestic rates to local authorities - following concerns raised by COSLA, businesses and shopworkers’ union Usdaw.

Scottish Labour local government spokesperson Sarah Boyack said :

“While we firmly support the principle of devolution, we have listened to the concerns of councils, businesses and workers about the impact that this particular proposal would have.

“Councils across Scotland are at tipping point, and it is crucial they are empowered to ensure they can fund high quality local services.

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to speeding up work on fiscal empowerment, and its pledge to deliver proposals on the Fiscal Framework in time for the next Parliamentary session.

"But we urge ministers to act now to address the funding shortfalls in local government.”

Ms Boyack has also secured a commitment from the Scottish Government to consult on student tenancies and private student accommodation, including the provision of welfare services and accommodation for vulnerable students.

Ms Boyack added:

"As the minister, Kate Forbes, acknowledged in her response to me, the owners of private student accommodation 'benefit from local services yet contribute nothing to the cost of providing these services'.

But having consulted with the NUS and university interests, I don't want us to take the risk of rates being passed onto students through rent hikes or extended tenancies."

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