A tax break for local newspapers should be looked into as a matter of urgency, say the Scottish Conservatives, an a move supported by The Scottish Newspaper Society , which is also pushing for the Scottish Government to consider this issue.
This week, as part of the Budget, the UK Chancellor, George Osborne, announced a review of business rates for weekly titles south of the border.
Now, the Conservatives are calling for the Scottish Government to look into these measures immediately – to revive a dwindling newspaper industry.
The review in England is due to look at whether such newspapers could be partially exempted from business rates.
According to recent figures [from Audit Bureau of Circulations, February 2015], every one of Scotland’s paid for local weekly titles saw sales of their print editions decline, year-on-year.
It iss widely thought that a relief in business rates would help the local newspaper sector at least survive.
Liz Smith MSP, the Scottish Conservative culture spokeswoman – and local newspapers are a settled element of any local culture, says: ‘We’re supporting the Scottish Newspaper Society in their quest to push for a similar move in Scotland.
‘Local news is at the heart of our local communities, people rely on weekly titles for news and views.
‘Without a doubt local newspapers are an incredible source of information and make local government and other public figures accountable to the public. Without them we’d be lost.
‘We want the Scottish Government to look into a review of business rates as a matter of urgency to revive a flagging and much-loved industry.’