By Daniel Hunter
The revised detail of the Scottish Government's supermarket tax, provided by Finance Secretary John Swinney in Parliament on Wednesday, has confirmed the levy's motivation is purely to raise money.
It's been announced the tax will have a sunset clause to bring it to an end after three years. While the total amount to be raised by the levy has been reduced from £110 to £95 million, the shortfall is due to be made up by an increase in the Large Business Supplement, spreading the impact over a wider range of businesses.
"All pretence that this tax is a public health measure must now be abandoned. The Government has a specific figure of £110 million it wants to raise over the next three years. It is still discriminating against a small number of successful businesses to do this and without any formal impact assessment," Ian Shearer, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said.
"There's been some recognition that retail alone can't bear all of the costs and we're glad to see a small reduction in the overall bill retailers will face and the time limit of three years. But this levy still sets an alarming precedent by singling out one part of one sector and businesses of all kinds will fear what future revenue-raising schemes might be devised. Allowing profitable businesses to be raided in this way creates significant uncertainty around future investment."
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