I call on Finance Minister Sammy Wilson not to give in to the bullying of the large stores and to go ahead with the Large Stores Rates Levy
I have an interest in the Large Stores Rates Levy as I originally proposed in my speech on the draft budget in January and I was delighted when then the Minister took it up.
It is depressing to hear the whinging of mainly out of town supermarkets complaining when for years they have received many advantages at the expense of the small independent retailers and town centres.
It is difficult to have much sympathy with multinationals like Tesco when the Large Stores Rates Levy is equivalent to a few hours trading out of the profits of almost £4 billion. The introduction of the Large Stores Rates Levy will go some way to create a level playing field. It would help balance the disadvantage small independent businesses face as large out of town supermarkets take advantage of free parking and economies of scale.
To listen to the spokesperson for Tescos you would think that that the company is a benevolent job creation charity. This is not the case as the company is a profit maximising organisation and all research has shown every job created by the supermarkets will result in at least one job being lost in local retailers.
I would appeal to Sammy Wilson to stand up to these threats and introduce the Large Stores Rates Levy. Given the massive profits these supermarkets are making there is no way the supermarkets would give up their massive profits in response to a levy equivalent to the profits of 2 to 3 hours trading.
* I first proposed this levy in my speech on the draft budget on 19th January as the Green Party in Scotland were supporting a similar levy. Sammy Wilson then took up the idea and introduced it into his budget in March.