By Maximilian Clarke
Opposition to Scotland’s proposed ‘Supermarket Tax’ is growing, as the British Retail Consortium observe the lack of a coherent impact assessment reflects the a wider lack of awareness of the tax’s damaging effects from its advocates.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has repeatedly challenged Finance Secretary John Swinney over his refusal to carry out a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) into an extra levy on large stores selling alcohol and tobacco. Conservative MSP and convenor of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee Gavin Brown is due to ask First Minister Alex Salmond what impact the proposed levy will have on employment in Scotland's retail sector.
A flurry of written Parliamentary Questions from MSPs across the political spectrum have also sought more detailed answers about the impact of the levy on businesses and consumers and about what genuine health benefits it will deliver.
Ian Shearer, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "The proposed supermarket levy is an unprecedented policy which would use the business rates system to impose extra taxes on a handful of businesses in the guise of a public health measure. Such a significant development must be properly scrutinised.
"Retailers are worried about the threat such a tax would pose to their investment and job creation plans in Scotland. These concerns are shared by other business organisations which realise the policy would set a precedent which could damage Scotland's reputation as a good place to do business.
"The questions we are asking about the consequences of going ahead with this tax are being taken up by politicians of many colours. We hope the Scottish Government will listen to these concerns and think again."
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