‘Supermarket tax’ to go before councillors

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

Friday, September 27, 2013
6:56 PM

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.

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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.

1 comment

  • The report suggesting local jobs would be lost if large supermarkets pulled out or were discouraged from coming to North Devon is seriously flawed. Such a suggestion would require the people of North Devon to eat less food, a notion that is extremely unlikely. Our food intake would remain the same so the levy on supermarkets can't fail. If a supermarket pulls out, smaller retailers and market stalls are bound to prosper. The extra cash could be used to set up a team to promote shopping at smaller retailers and cut the cost of parking in town centres. Anything that gives smaller retailers a helping hand against the might of the supermarket must surely be a good thing..

    Report this comment

    castironairbricks .

    Sunday, September 29, 2013

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