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Tuesday 21st
posted by Zoe Streatfield in Britain

EXPLOITATIVE retail firm Sports Direct could see its business rates for properties across Scotland slashed following a review of the property tax system by the Scottish government.

Analysis by Scottish Labour revealed yesterday that the values of Sports Direct properties in Scotland could drop by almost £1 million — a fall of 14 per cent, with a similar reduction in business rates.

Scottish Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said it was “astounding that Sports Direct could see its rates bill reduced by such a large sum while the NHS is facing a multimillion-pound increase and nurseries and other public-sector venues are also being hit.”

Last week Labour revealed that the NHS could face a £30m increase in business rates, while Scottish universities will see their property valuations go up by 25 per cent on average.

Sports Direct made headlines last year for its “Victorian” work practices, including bullying and harassment, widespread use of zero-hours contracts and failure to pay the national minimum wage.

The outfit’s billionaire owner Mike Ashley was dragged before the Commons’ business select committee over the poor treatment of staff.

Ms Baillie said: “Sports Direct has been at the centre of a series of scandals, with revelations that employees have been paid less than the minimum wage for years and made to work in Victorian conditions.

She said Mr Ashley was “responsible for the reputational damage of the firm, which saw a huge recent drop in pre-tax profit” and called on the SNP to “get a grip” on the problem.