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MSPs against retail tax plan

26 January 2011

A committee of MSPs has come down against Scottish Government plans to impose an additional rates bill on large retailers to help balance its books..

The proposed levy, labelled a "supermarket tax", was planned to raise an additional £30m to help counter a cut in funding from Westminster of about £1bn.

Major supermarkets have threatened to scale down their future expansion plans in Scotland if the levy becomes law.

The proposed order, the Non-Domestic Rates (Levying) (Scotland) (No 3) Regulations 2010, has still to go before the full Parliament, but is set to be rejected if opposition parties again unite against the move.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the levy would affect about 0.1% of businesses in a "highly profitable sector" and was an important measure to relieve pressure on family and household budgets during tough economic times.

However Jeremy Purvis (Liberal Democrat), who successfully moved the annulment of the order, said it would send out the message "that for doing trade in Scotland, for growing businesses, for employing people – if you are successful for that – then you are liable to be faced with an arbitrary tax".

The Government's Budget Bill will also come before the Parliament shortly. Negotiations with other parties in order to achieve sufficient support for the measure are continuing.


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