Supermarket Levy Would Set Dangerous Precedent

ACS has responded to a call by 20 councils for powers to impose a new levy on supermarkets.

Councils have made this bid for new powers using the procedures laid down in the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. Under the Act Councils can submit requests for changes in national legislation or taxation to the Government, which is legally required to consider the request, although not to agree to it. A similar request made in 2013 was rejected by Ministers.

ACS Chief Executive said: "We are pleased that the Councils are thinking about ways to direct more investment into the high street and help small businesses, but it would set a dangerous precedent if councils were able to add to business rates bills.

"This levy could apply equally to large retail stores in existing centres as well as out of town stores, which would not help high streets. There is also no clarity on how councils would reinvest any money raised, and the levy could become just general revenue-raising.

"We would prefer councils to show their commitment to the high street through stronger enforcement of town centre first rules in planning. Over the past two years, three-quarters of new retail space given planning approval has been for stores located out of town. Councils must do more to reverse this trend.

"We continue to promote ways to make it cheaper to invest and operate stores in existing town, neighbourhood and village centres, especially through reform to the business rates system."

This entry was posted by Chris on Mon, 28/07/2014 - 09:00
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