The SNP have u-turned on extending business rates relief following repeated demands from the Scottish Conservatives.
It was announced in the recent draft Budget, that business rates relief was only to apply for a further three months from 1 April.
However, following a funding boost of £1.1 billion from the UK Government, the Scottish Government have now confirmed businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality, aviation and newspaper sectors will receive rates relief for the whole of the next financial year.
Both Hamilton and Lamont have led calls for an extension of rates relief with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross first proposing the move in December.
Many business organisations, such as the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, criticised the Scottish Government for their initial plans to extend rates relief for only three months.
The Borders parliamentarians believe the move will help businesses to cope with the ongoing pressures brought about by Covid-19, as well as protect vital Borders jobs and livelihoods.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said:
“The SNP have performed a u-turn on their short sighted plans for business rates relief, thanks to pressure from the strong Scottish Conservative opposition.
“Business organisations and many constituents were critical of the poor offering of rates relief for three months, so I am glad it has been extended to the whole of the next financial year.
“Thanks to the might of our United Kingdom and more funding coming to Scotland to deal with the pandemic, the SNP Government have managed to offer further relief.
“What we need to see now is more vital funding reaching businesses, as many are still falling through the cracks”.
John Lamont MP said:
“I am glad to see that the SNP have finally come to their senses and extended business rates relief. This will help local businesses to stay open and, most importantly, protect jobs in the Borders.
“The UK has provided almost an extra £10 billion to the Scottish Government to help protect the NHS and boost our economy.
“This comes alongside the unprecedented furlough schemes and UK Government backed loans that have protected millions of jobs and stopped our economy from complete ruin.”