1. The Barclay Review of Non-Domestic Rates was established to deliver a rates system designed to better support business growth, long term investment and reflect changing market places. The subsequent recommendations of the Barclay Review include measures to support growth, to improve administration of the system and to increase fairness.
2. On 14 December 2017, the Scottish Government published a response to the Barclay Review in an implementation plan confirming acceptance of the majority of the review recommendations and setting out details of those measures that would be implemented administratively and the others that require the Government to bring forward primary legislation.
3. As part of the implementation plan, Scottish Ministers accepted Recommendation 6 that "There should be a separate review of Plant and Machinery valuations with particular focus on renewable energy sector valuations and statutory improvements to property including sprinkler systems."
4. In the first instance Scottish Government committed to 'fast track' an external review of plant and machinery rateability specifically for the hydropower sector (less than 5MW of capacity), with the following terms of reference:
- to consider the present law governing rating valuation of plant and machinery for hydropower schemes in Scotland; and
- to recommend any legislative changes required in respect of the extent of rateable property for such schemes, having regard to the financial, technical and other considerations involved.
5. From 1 April 2018, the Scottish Government, with the support of the British Hydropower Association, introduced an interim 60 per cent relief for non-domestic rates bills of small-scale hydro generators while the review took place. This relief will remain in place, at least, until the findings of this review group are concluded and implemented.