Irvine businesses seeking to overturn crippling rises in rates will be forced to wait an extra month before their appeals are even considered, Tory candidate Scott Gallacher has complained.

He stated, “The Scottish Government has changed the legislation to state firms must now wait at least 105 days before a decision is made on their rates bill.

“Previously, the limit was just 70 days, meaning those affected will have an additional 35 days of being out-of-pocket.

“It’s yet another disaster from the SNP as it struggles to address the business rates fiasco.

“Last week, we learned that finance secretary Derek Mackay’s 12.5 per cent cap on increases was in fact a 14.75 per cent one, as he’d somehow bizarrely forgotten to factor in inflation.

“This is completely and utterly shambolic from the SNP at Holyrood. There are business owners in Irvine and the rest of North Ayrshire who are very worried by the rise in the first instance, a further slap in the face is the last thing they need. Not only was the cap announced by the incompetent Derek Mackay found to be completely misleading, but now these local firms are being forced to wait more than a month extra, just to get their appeals heard.

“Considering finances for many of these local organisations affected will already be tight, they can hardly afford to wait an additional 35 days.

“This is just another indication of an anti-business SNP government, obsessed beyond belief with a second independence referendum, that would rather hit local firms in the pocket than help them boost growth, jobs and the town’s economy.”