Scottish Chambers: Businesses on the Brink of Collapse Without Urgent Government Support

Date Posted: 26 Aug, 2022

Ahead of the new energy price cap announcement by Ofgem on Friday 26th August 2022, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network propose urgent actions for the Scottish and UK Governments to tackle the cost crisis and support businesses.

The SCC Action Plan for the Scottish Government to support businesses are:

  1. Provide a Business Relief Package at a similar level of support from the COVID-19 pandemic. This should be aligned with support offered to communities and households.
  2. Ensure that the Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) Revaluation that is due to take place in 2023 goes ahead as planned, without any further delay.
  3. Place a moratorium on all policy measures that increase business costs for the remainder of this parliament.
  4. Pause burdensome regulations such as changes to the non-domestic rates appeals system and new taxes such as the workplace parking levy and tourism tax.
    The SCC Action Plan for the UK Government to support businesses are:
  5. Temporary cut in VAT bills to 5% to reduce spiralling energy costs for businesses and introduction of an SME energy price cap which has also been backed by Scottish Government.
  6. Covid-style support by introducing Government Emergency Energy Grant for SMEs for the businesses most at risk from the cost emergency.
  7. Temporarily reverse NICs and put money back into the pockets of businesses and workers.
  8. UK Government to immediately review and reform the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to help fill talent shortages.

    Addressing the challenges facing businesses and households, Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Chief Executive of SCC (pictured), said:

    “Since the start of 2021, businesses could see this crisis coming and have been consistently telling us that they are facing unsustainable rises in costs. The impact of these challenges on businesses, consumers and our communities must be tackled with immediate action.

    “The scale of the crisis has reached a tipping point and with so many on the brink, we simply cannot afford any more inaction. From the UK Government, businesses need to receive emergency support for spiralling costs through grant funding, energy price caps and a reduction in VAT on energy bills. Urgent reform of the Shortage Occupation List is needed immediately to address labour market supply and skills shortages.

    “The Scottish Government must also take action within its powers to alleviate the cost burden on businesses and households, including pausing burdensome regulations and providing direct financial support.”