In early 2016 the First Minister began an external review of how non-domestic rates could better reflect economic conditions and support investment and growth. 

The resulting report by Ken Barclay, published last summer, contained 30 recommendations ‘to support growth, improve administration and increase fairness’. 

The last of these recommendations was that ‘Commercial activity on current exempt parks and Local Authority (council) land vested in recreation should pay the same level of rates as similar activity elsewhere so as to ensure fairness’.

The Scottish Government has since accepted this proposal and will bring forward primary legislation to deliver it by 2020.

We’re no experts, but it seems likely that the new rules will affect many of Edinburgh’s pop-up markets, venues and funfair attractions, adding to their costs, squeezing profit margins and putting up ticket prices.

Whether this will act as a useful restraint on galloping commercialisation of civic spaces remains to be seen.

Princes Street Gardens