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Scottish Tory calls for extension of local press tax relief pledge

Margaret MitchellA Scottish Tory politician has called on her party to extend its pledge on business rate relief for English local newspapers.

Margaret Mitchell MSP, pictured left, wants to see the promise to consult on the plan, which is part of the Conservatives’ General Election Manifesto, introduced north of the border too.

Her plea echoes that of the Scottish Newspaper Society, which urged the Scottish government to take on the idea after it was first announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his Budget speech last month.

The Scottish government has previously said it would “monitor the debate” around the westminster government’s consultation, should it go ahead.

Said Margaret: “I fully support the Scottish Newspaper Society in their quest to push for a similar review in Scotland to see if these local papers could receive partial business rate exemption.

“Local news is at the heart of communities and provides an incredibly important source of information for local people.

“In addition to this they are a vehicle to ensure local government and other public bodies and individuals are accountable to the public.

“For all these reasons the Scottish Conservatives are calling on the SNP Government to look into a review of business rates as a matter of urgency to revive a flagging, and much-loved industry.”

Scottish Newspaper Society director John McLellan said at the time of Mr Osborne’s announcement he hoped a review of how Scotland’s local publisher were taxed would take place.