Belfast Telegraph

Levy bid on big retailers is 'job creation tax'

By Margaret Canning

A proposed levy on large retail premises intended to protect smaller traders is a tax on job creation, a commercial property consultants has said.

RHM Commercial said six of Northern Ireland's biggest employers - Tesco, B&Q, Sainsbury's, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Dunnes Stores - would be liable for two-thirds of the cost of the proposed levy, which was announced by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson in the Budget as a means of funding small business rate relief.

Tom MacLynn from RHM said: "The Assembly should be encouraging these companies to create jobs, not increasing the cost of doing business in Northern Ireland. The proposed levy would, in effect, represent a tax on job creation."

Proceeds of the levy, which is to be put to consultation, are to be used to extend small business rate relief.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which is also opposed to the levy, last week said it will "disproportionately affect" town centres.

But Glyn Roberts, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Trade Association, said: ""Out of town superstores have decimated our town centres and closed many independent stores."

The Executive plans to introduce the levy from next April.