Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Large stores levy will help our retailers

I HAVE a particular interest in the large stores levy, as I originally proposed it in my speech on the draft Budget in January and I was delighted when Finance Minister Sammy Wilson took it up.

It is depressing to hear the whingeing of supermarkets complaining when, for years, they have received many advantages at the expense of small, independent retailers and town centres.

It is difficult to have much sympathy with multinationals like Tesco, when the levy is equivalent to a few hours' trading out of profits of almost £4bn.

The introduction of this levy will help create a level playing field. It would help balance the disadvantage small, independent businesses face as large supermarkets take advantage of free parking and economies of scale.

To listen to the spokesperson for Tesco, you would think the company is a benevolent job-creation charity. The company is a profit-maximising organisation and all research has shown that every job created by the supermarkets will result in at least one job being lost in local retailers.

Given the massive profits these supermarkets are making, there is no way they would give up their profits in response to a levy equivalent to the profits from two or three hours' trading.

CLLR BRIAN WILSON (GREEN)

North Down Borough Council

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