Businessmen in West Lothian can now opt for a fast and direct e-bill method of paying their business rates - the first of its kind in the UK.
Deputy minister for finance and public services Peter Peacock said:
'This isn't just about technology - it is an excellent initiative that delivers genuine benefits for people and businesses in West Lothian. The council should be congratulated for delivering a first in the UK - a great example of the public sector in Scotland leading the way.
'A simplified system of online payments has been available for a few months allowing payments of council tax, rents and business rates to be made on line or by telephone. This is an extension to that service and will allow customers to pay service bills received from the council as well as parking tickets. Initial feedback has confirmed that the online facility has been very popular - with council employees and local people.
'There is no doubt that e-government offers huge advantages for customers and West Lothian Council has grabbed the opportunity provided by the Modernising Government Fund to introduce an innovative and time-saving system. There is an ideal opportunity to build on this and I hope other local authorities will follow their lead.
'The Modernising Government Fund is committed to promoting a citizen-focused approach to modernising the delivery of public services in Scotland across key areas ensuring customers can access services in a number of different ways that best suits their needs. This project fits perfectly with these aims.'