CENTRAL Scotland list MSP Margaret Mitchell has expressed concerns about the future of Maxim Park in Eurocentral.
The facility, based near Holytown, was hailed by First Minister Alex Salmond as an ‘important driver’ for the Scottish economy when it was launched in 2009.
However, three years on, it is only five per cent occupied and with the Scottish Government planing to increase tax on empty commercial properties to 90 per cent, Mrs Mitchell fears the future viability of Maxim Park will be affected.
She challenged Finance Secretary John Swinney in the Scottish Parliament to reveal the full extent of the extra tax the office development will have to pay.
Mrs Mitchell said: “Maxim Park is one of the best and biggest office developments of its kind in the UK and was hailed at its opening by Alex Salmond as a key driver in boosting Scotland’s economy.
“It is surely a sad irony that three years on, one of the First Minister’s own policies is now jeopardising the future viability of this superb facility.
“Once again, Alex Salmond seems more interested in photocalls than actually standing up for business in Scotland.
“This property tax is only going to harm businesses who are unable to let out their premises because of the economic climate, and may in fact tip some firms over the edge.”
Mr Swinney admitted he couldn’t say how much tax Maxim Park will end up paying.
He responded: “I cannot give Margaret Mitchell a definitive answer to the point about Maxim Park. The Parliament is now scrutinising the bill and the Government will listen carefully during that process.
“I stress to her the point of principle, the Government is trying to put in place a framework that will encourage and motivate the setting of a business rental regime and an overall approach that encourages the occupation of business premises for productive economic benefit. That must surely be the object of all of us in the Parliament.”
Maxim Park said they were happy to leave the matter to the politicians.