Maverick hotelier refuses to pay business rate hike

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A leading hotelier in Scotland and friend of Alex Salmond has reportedly refused to pay “crazy” business rate increases and has encouraged other local firms to do the same.

Five-star Marcliffe Hotel’s Stewart Spence told local newspaper The Herald that he would not pay the proposed 25% increase in the business’s rates because it did not account for a 40% turnover drop, a result of falling oil prices which hit Scottish hospitality businesses heavily.

It was reported that Spence urged a “complete rethink” on how premises were rated. He told The Herald: “My net payable is 25 per cent up yet my turnover is 40 per cent down. It just doesn’t stack up. I’ve been asked to pay £314,00 as against £253,000.

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“I’m just going to continue paying the old amount until there’s a settlement. I’m encouraging others to do that as well. Until they agree to make a settlement with us, that’s my stand.”

The news comes as owners of Knockderry Country House Hotel in Cove warned that its business rates will more than triple under new valuations of commercial property.

Owners Murdo and Beth McLeod reportedly said their annual rates bill will rocket from £9,500 to £30,000 in April.

There is increasing concern among hospitality businesses across Scotland who are due to face significant challenges in coming months in relation to rates revaluations.

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