Mark McDonald MSP

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Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald (Aberdeen Donside) (SNP)

I am the MSP for the Aberdeen Donside constituency.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

Mr Cummins has suggested that a potential paradox is being set up, but I have to say that I do not see any problem. If we accept that a licence for sexual entertainment is for something that is a level beyond adult entertainment, it must follow that if a local authority takes the view that it is comfortable with the provision of adult entertainment as defined in the regulations but less comfortable with sexual entertainment as defined in the legislation, it is perfectly acceptable for it to refuse a licence for sexual entertainment, irrespective of whether the venue in question has an alcohol licence or the ability to provide adult entertainment. I am not sure that I would accept that that is either a paradox or, essentially, a bad thing.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

That is true, but by the same token, as Sandra White has pointed out, a number of venues have exploited a loophole in the 2005 act to offer entertainment of the type that the local authority does not wish to see being provided. Because the stipulations that will now be introduced have not existed before, venues have been able to circumvent the local authority’s wishes through legal challenges. Some premises might have been operating for some time, but they have been doing so as a consequence of a loophole rather than through any policy intention.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

I have a couple of points. First, I am very interested to know when your research is likely to become available. In the research, there will obviously be an aggregation around licensed premises. There are off-licences, pubs, nightclubs and hotels. Is that disaggregation covered as well? I can think of a community in my constituency where there are a number of hotels, a couple of community pubs and some off-licences. To all intents and purposes, if you were to look simply at the number of licensed premises in that area without looking at what those licensed premises were, it might give a misleading impression of overprovision in that community, although there are undoubtedly communities—I am sure that the convener, as somebody who represents a city centre area, will understand this—where there are a significant number of licensed premises in concentrated areas.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

It would be useful to see the data that you collected and to have a look at your report. You made an interesting point, which I am sure that we can pick up at a later stage of our evidence gathering.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

I have two points. First, I am interested in the issue of storage space. In the dim and distant past, I worked for a major supermarket chain, which shall go unnamed, and all the alcohol had to be stored in a locked cage at the back of the warehouse. I do not know whether that was the result of regulation or whether it was just a choice that was made—



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

My second point follows on from an interesting point that Mr Steele made about the pressures that are caused by large numbers of venues in a concentrated area spilling out at the same time. When I was a local authority councillor, I floated a suggestion that local authority licensing boards should look at implementing what I would call cool-down periods, with differentiation between the time period for the sale of alcohol and the closing time of premises, or differentiation between the closing times of premises in a certain area.

Neither of those ideas is necessarily a perfect solution, but are they already available to licensing boards? Would there be legal implications if they were to implement such proposals? I would be interested to learn a bit more about those things, because I am by no means an expert.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

Let us go slightly further than that. For example, Justice Mill Lane in Aberdeen has a large concentration of premises that empty at 3 o’clock in the morning. I floated the suggestion that licences could be differentiated across those venues by changing the closing time of the premises or the time at which alcohol ceases to be sold. Can such local variations be made by licensing boards or would there be legal difficulty for them in taking that step?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

The motivation behind licensing in this area is obviously related to both actual and perceived harm. I am interested in the study that you have done, Dr Wightman, and in what you have concluded from it with regard to the harm that can be caused by air weapon pellets. Can you give us a bit more detail on that?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mark McDonald

Both, if you wish to offer that.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Mark McDonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11487: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11422: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11298: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11184: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11183: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11182: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11181: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11111: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11110: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11109: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Mark McDonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03653: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22810: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22811: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22812: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22813: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03578: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03500: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03466: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21891: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/06/2014 Show Full Question >>

Scottish Government actions, following the business rates consultation with progress summary

Scottish Government business rates consultation outcomes

Progress summary

  1. We will write, in 2013, to every business in Scotland based in a property that me be entitled to the Small Business Bonus scheme to highlight that they may benefit.

In November 2013 Minister for Energy Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing wrote to every business in Scotland that may be entitled, but was not claiming.

  1. We will work with stakeholders to ensure there is a more consistent approach across Scotland.

On-going, a working group has been set up with Scottish Government officials, council officials and COSLA to produce non-statutory guidance to rates reliefs.

  1. We will review rates relief application processes to ensure they are simple, transparent and streamlined.

On-going.

  1. We will undertake a review of the recent changes to empty property relief in 2015.

To be carried out in 2015.

  1. All rates reliefs will be kept under regular review to ensure that benefit is directed where it is most needed.

On-going. Actions already taken include the expansion of Fresh Start relief to include higher rateable value properties and previously empty hotels, restaurants and pubs and the expansion of the Small Business Bonus Scheme to include an estimated additional 4,000 properties, both came into force in April 2014. In addition, payday lenders will no longer be entitled to rates relief in Scotland from April 2014.

  1. All current exemptions provided, including to some key sectors such as agriculture, will be retained.

All current exemptions have been

retained.

  1. The Scottish Government will create a power to allow local councils to respond better to local need and create their own localised relief schemes.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill was laid before Parliament on 11 June 2014. This includes a power to allow councils to create their own localized business rates relief schemes. There is no equivalent power to levy supplements.

  1. We will continue the Small Business Bonus Scheme until 2016 and consider which relief thresholds can be established on a longer term basis ahead of the 2017 review.

Legislation was laid and came into force on 1 April 2014 to allow for the SBBS to run for 2 years (for lifetime of current Scottish Parliament).

  1. The way all current reliefs are funded will be maintained.

Funding of all current reliefs has been

maintained

  1. The way that relief to different sectors is recorded will be maintained.

Recording of relief to different sectors

has been maintained.

  1. The Scottish Government will consult on transitional relief ahead of the next revaluation in 2017.

Consultation planned to take place

closer to 2017 revaluation date.

  1. New rateable values will be made available to ratepayers as far in advance of the 2017 revaluation as possible.

Work on-going, officials working jointly with the Scottish Assessors.

  1. A separate review of the appeals system will begin in 2014, concluding in time for the next revaluation in 2017.

Currently engaging with stakeholders to help inform the review.

  1. We will work jointly with others to ensure businesses have access to clear, concise information about valuations, rateable values, rates bills and reliefs.

New business portal website and rates bill calculator launched in 2013.

Where there are further opportunities identified to provide clear, concise information on business rates, these will be considered.

  1. We will take all possible measures to prevent tax avoidance and ensure rates are paid.

On-going.

  1. Where possible, loopholes and avoidance tactics will be closed.

On-going.

  1. Powers for debt recovery will be strengthened and streamlined.

On-going.

  1. The current property based tax system will be retained.

No change to current property based

tax.

  1. The Scottish Government confirms that the next rates revaluation will take effect on 1 April 2017.

The next rates revaluation will take

effect on 1 April 2017.

  1. The national poundage will continue to be set at the same level as in England. There will be no new local poundage supplements.

Confirmed in setting the 2014-15 poundage. A 2% poundage cap (with poundage set at 47.1p) confirmed for 2014-15.


Current Status: Answered by Derek Mackay on 25/06/2014
Question S4O-03375: Mark McDonald, Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.