FINANCE Secretary Derek Mackay today promised new steps to support business as the rates row grew with the revelation that controversial retailer Sports Direct will have the bill for its Princes Street store reduced.
The rateable value for the premises at 129 Princes Street, previously occupied by music shop HMV, has been slashed by 35 per cent from £645,000 to £419,000 while the rateable value for its store at Almondvale South Retail Park, Livingston, has been cut by 25 per cent from £223,500 to £167,500.
Scottish Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Sports Direct has been at the centre of a series of scandals, with revelations that employees have been paid less than the minimum wage for years and made to work in Victorian conditions.
“Mike Ashley is responsible for the reputational damage of the firm, which saw a huge recent drop in pre-tax profit.
“So it is astounding that Sports Direct could see its rates bill reduced by such a large sum while the NHS is facing a multi-million pound increase, and nurseries and other public sector venues are also being hit. It’s time for the SNP to get a grip of this problem.”
The Scottish Government said Mr Mackay would make a statement in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon on “a further package of support that will help businesses in key regions and sectors of the Scottish economy to better deal with the impact of the revaluation of business rates”.