Belfast Telegraph

Retail levy ‘will benefit bookies and bars’

By Louise Small

Much of the money raised by the Northern Ireland Executive’s proposed Large Retailer Levy under the guise of supporting small businesses would actually benefit banks, betting firms and pubs, according to analysis seen by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC).

The tax on large retail premises is intended to fund rate relief for small businesses and to help town centres but the NIRC says a list of eligible properties shows only half of the money raised will go to shops that really need it.

Among the other businesses which would benefit from the tax relief would be 273 pubs and off-licenses and 45 bookmakers and amusement arcades.

At least 48 bank branches would see their rates fall.

Hotels, petrol stations and quarries are also included.

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium Director Jane Bevis said: “The new tax the Executive plans to impose on the retail sector is flawed from start to finish.

“The Executive is actually going to pick the pockets of successful retailers and pass the benefit onto banks, bookies and bars.”

Belfast Telegraph

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