RATES CAP SEES SCOTLAND CONTINUE TO LEAD THE WAY ON SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

FINANCE SETTLEMENT PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, CHILDCARE AND COUNCIL TAX FREEZE

New measures to maintain Scotland’s place as the best place to do business in the UK, funding to deliver 600 hours of childcare and the continuation of the Council Tax freeze were at the heart of the Scottish Government’s priorities today as John Swinney delivered a statement on the local government finance settlement.

The Finance Secretary announced today that the Scottish Government are ensuring that Scotland continues to provide the most comprehensive package of support for small businesses anywhere in the UK, by capping the annual increase in business rates poundage at 2%.

The funding settlement also includes £190 million for Local Government over financial years 2014-15 and 2015-16 to fund an increase in nursery care from 475 hours a year to 600 hours a year for 3 and 4 year olds and looked-after 2 year olds from 2014.

Meanwhile the Council Tax freeze will continue, with bills not having risen by a single penny since the SNP took office. By the end of the current Parliament, this will have saved the average household around £1,200.

The local government settlement also includes money to continue the funding floor that ensures every local authority receives at least 85% of the Scottish average.

Commenting, South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said:

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, especially in Dumfries and Galloway, and today’s announcement ensures that we will continue to have the most comprehensive package of small business support anywhere in the UK.

“The SNP’s Small Business Bonus Scheme has seen more than 92,000 businesses in Scotland have their rates bills abolished or substantially reduced, making a huge difference to businesses in the region during difficult years.

“Meanwhile the funding to provide a substantial increase in childcare provision is one that will be of real benefit to thousands of families across Dumfries and Galloway.

“It provides us with a platform upon which to build the childcare revolution we have proposed for an independent Scotland – using the powers of a Yes vote to ensure the increased revenues more childcare unlocks are put to work to fund and maintain further improvements instead of disappearing into Westminster’s Treasury.”

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