Business Rates - Guest blog by James Bream, director of policy and research at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce 

I jokingly said at an event the other day that I would only consider tattooing something on my body if it had had a major impact on my life - such as my kid’s names or an Aberdeen Football Club badge. It sometimes feels like Business Rates should be added to that. 

The team at the Chamber have been working on influencing government locally and nationally for years but in the last 18 months our activity has ramped up significantly. In the middle of last year it was clear that the region was about to face a sizable issue with new Rateable Values from April 2017 leading to large rises in local bills. 

Last year, work led by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce secured around £17m of reliefs which businesses in the North-east could apply for during 2017/18, further support has been confirmed for hotels and offices for 2018/19. 

Most businesses can apply but for some deadlines of 30 September exist. If you want more detail, go to our website where we have created a free guide to applying for transitional relief and provide clarity on the different processes. 

We’ve also been seeking changes to make the system more responsive to the economy and better for business. We are making progress and the Barclay Review on the system, which was published on August 22, was broadly positive although we would like to have seen it go further and will continue to keep the pressure on to ensure the voice of businesses in the North-east are heard beyond 2017/18. 

Chamber members get regular updates on this type of activity but the Chamber LinkedIn site and website also have frequent news posts so keep up to date that way. 

I’ve always said ‘policy’ and ‘lobbying’ are abstract and don’t feel real for most people however when we get £17m of benefit for North-east businesses then it does make it all a bit more tangible. 

My message to you is simple: Check out whether you are due money. Our policy work may be worth several thousands of pounds for you.

If you have a business or would like to start one and would like to find out more, contact Elevator on 01224 289 700 if you are based in Grampian or 01382 443 400 if you are based in Dundee.

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