More councils have pledged their support for a ‘Tesco tax’ in a bid to help Britain’s beleaguered high streets.
Last week, 20 local authorities formally asked the UK Government to consider imposing a levy on large supermarkets.
According to campaigners, it could raise up to £400m for struggling small businesses and community projects.
Retailers, however, remain divided, while MPs and trade bodies gave the news qualified support. Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale and new head of the All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group, believes the tax could do wonders for struggling shop owners.
“The supermarkets have had it too easy for too long,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
However, critics, including the UK Government, claim the proposal to slap an 8.5% tax on companies with properties that have a rateable value of more than £500,000 would drive up food prices and inevitably lead to job cuts.
Retailer viewpoint: YES
“I’m a firm believer in it. The big supermarkets just don’t pay their fair share. More responsibility for local services is being passed to town councils and they can’t afford to make changes.
“People who say a Tesco tax would cause job losses are scaremongering. We all know supermarkets make obscene amounts of profit. Market forces will decide how many staff they have.”
James Wilkinson, Pybus Newsagents, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire
Retailer viewpoint: NO
“I don’t want a Tesco tax. If all the money raised was put into rejuvenating local areas, then great, but I’ve read that some of it would go to small businesses such as mine, and I don’t like that idea at all. It would be like a charity. I don’t want charity handouts from Tesco. Stuff ’em.
“People are starting to realise that enough is enough. We have a Tesco about six miles away from here and people tell me they won’t use it. Many think they are greedy and it’s not what people want around here.”
Bob Young, Robin Hill Stores, Marnhull, Dorset
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