Pub closing down says Scottish budget was the 'last nail in the coffin'

The Auld Hoose criticised the SNP for failing to replicate business rates relief pledged in England by the Tories.

Edinburgh pub closing down says Scottish budget was the ‘last nail in the coffin’ Google Maps

A pub in Edinburgh has shut its doors after describing the Scottish Government’s decision not to replicate business rates relief pledged in England as the “final nail in the coffin” for the firm.

The Auld Hoose on St Leonard’s Street said the rising cost of living, including surging utility bills, food and drink prices, has made business “challenging at best”.

But the bar said the “final straw” was a lack of business support in the Scottish budget announced just before Christmas.

“That’s all for now folks, the Auld Hoose will remain closed until further notice,” owners said on social media.

“Thanks to all the staff and regulars over the years that have supported us. I wish you all a Merry Christmas.”

They added: “Unfortunately the final straw has been the decision by the Scottish Government to not pass on the business rates relief that our friends in England enjoy.

“As a long-standing member of the SNP I find their current stance on this matter extremely disappointing.

“What would seem to be an anti-business coalition with the Greens will put the final nail into the coffins of many small businesses such as mine.

“It’s also worth pointing out that the UK has one of the highest VAT rates on hospitality in Europe.

“We already knew the UK Government doesn’t care about Hospitality but it seems the Scottish Government is worse.

“I’m hoping the Government is listening – time for action.”

Scottish finance secretary Shona Robison announced in her Budget last week that business rates for premises valued under £51,000 would be frozen, while island hospitality businesses would be given a 100% relief – moves welcomed by industry.

But the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Scotland said the measures do not go far enough and prove that earlier Scottish Government pledges to “turn the dial” on its relationship with business were “little more than a talking shop”.

Robison’s failure to outline a 75% business rates relief on hospitality, leisure and retail premises was described as a “missed opportunity” after campaigners issued an “SOS” alert to ministers ahead of the Budget.

The finance secretary said the Scottish Government was prioritising health funding instead of business tax cuts.

She said similar business relief measures in Scotland would have cost £260m and would have come at the expense of NHS funding.

“That is not the priority of the Scottish Government,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said it “will always be open and honest” with the public about the choices it has made.

“There have been calls to replicate non-domestic rates retail, hospitality and leisure relief available to businesses in England,” they said in a statement.

“While Scottish ministers are sympathetic to these calls, doing so would have meant that the Scottish Government could not provide the NHS, schools, or emergency services with the funding they require.

“This situation results from what the deputy first minister has described as a ‘worst case scenario’ UK Government Autumn Statement, which failed to provide the investment needed in services and infrastructure, reflecting the UK’s economic circumstances after Brexit.

“The Scottish Government will continue to do all it can to support businesses. In 2024-25, the Basic Property Rate, applying to properties with rateable values up to and including £51,000, will be frozen, delivering the lowest such rate in the UK for the sixth year in a row.

“The Small Business Bonus Scheme offering up to 100% relief from non-domestic rates will be maintained and will continue to be available to over 100,000 properties. 100% rates relief will also be available for hospitality businesses in island communities, capped at £110,000 per ratepayer.”

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