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‘Supermarket tax’ to go before councillors

PUBLISHED: 18:56 27 September 2013 | UPDATED: 18:56 27 September 2013

Will a 'supermarket levy' plan find favour with North Devon councillors?

Will a 'supermarket levy' plan find favour with North Devon councillors?

Archant

An idea to levy an extra 8.5 per cent tax on big retail business in North Devon is to get a second airing before district councillors.

CHARGING supermarkets and big business extra to set up shop in North Devon is set to be debated by councillors tomorrow (Tuesday).

A proposal to levy an extra 8.5 per cent ‘supermarket tax’ on large retail outlets is on the agenda for North Devon Council’s executive committee, following a motion submitted by Councillor David Luggar.

He wants the council to use new legislation to lobby the Government for a change in the law to grant it those powers and for the money raised to be ploughed back into the community to help the local economy.

Applying the levy to Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Homebase stores in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Braunton could raise £626,000 a year, according to a report to executive. For example, Sainsbury’s in Barnstaple has a rateable value of £2.24m, so an annual levy would cost it an extra £190,400, while the larger Barnstaple Tesco store had a value of £1.97 and would pay an extra £167,450.

But according to the report, the risks were high; with a fear North Devon could become labelled ‘anti business’ as large national brands chose to take their investment elsewhere, with local jobs lost.

Potential opportunities could include managing the growth of large retailers to the benefit of smaller businesses, while investing the ‘levy’ could help town centre investment and small businesses.

The report came from initial reaction by council officers, plus consultation with Barnstaple Town Centre Management.

Mr Luggar’s proposal is based on a national campaign by Local Works, calling on councils across the country to lobby for change.

It has already been adopted in Northern Ireland, where the levy is used to provide small business rate relief.

The executive was to be asked yesterday whether council officers should carry out more research and consultation to investigate the proposal further.

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