Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Executive urged to rethink levy

The body which represents independent shops in Northern Ireland has backed calls for the Executive to consider a more targeted levy on larger retailers.

Glyn Roberts from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) said he would welcome the "Scottish option" put forward yesterday by B-amp;Q CEO Martyn Phillips. The Scottish Executive's Budget proposal contains a large retailer levy aimed at those shops which sell alcohol and tobacco, such as supermarkets, rather than the Northern Ireland Executive's proposed levy on all retailers.

The latter proposal prompted B-amp;Q, which employs over 1,000 people in Northern Ireland stores, to announce yesterday that its future investment in Northern Ireland could be curtailed.

"B-amp;Q haven't adopted a knee jerk reaction and have put forward the Scottish option which we would be more than happy to see in place," Mr Roberts said.

"The opponents of this levy has done themselves a disservice by not putting forward another alternative but B-amp;Q have made a constructive contribution."

It said was unfair to tax it at the same rate as supermarkets.