Scottish retail unites against jobs-wrecking levy
The retailers are warning that the levy will endanger future job creation.
The first gathering of Competitive Scotland took place ahead of the Scottish Retail Consortium's (SRC's) Annual Parliamentary Reception.
The retail sector is warning that the extra tax on stores with a rateable value of more than £750,000 could limit retail expansion in Scotland and harm employment prospects.
Large retailers already pay approximately a quarter of all business rates across Scotland, the highest proportion of any sector. In 2009, the retail sector contributed around £24 billion to the Scottish economy, accounting for 11 per cent of the nation's GDP. It employs nearly 250,000 people, equivalent to one in nine of the Scottish workforce.
The big four supermarkets alone plan to open a total of around twenty new stores in Scotland over the next two years, resulting in approximately 8,000 new jobs. It has been estimated that the building of a major store provides work for up to 200 construction staff.
Scottish Retail Consortium Director, Fiona Moriarty, said: "To have so many major retailers and key business organisations brought around the table by a single issue is highly significant.
"This reflects the level of concern about the proposed large retailer levy and the importance the whole sector places on halting it. Preventing this unfair tax on successful businesses is at the top of the retail sector's agenda, and we aim to place it top of the Government's agenda as well.
"Opposition politicians are showing they understand the importance of the retail sector to the future success of the Scottish economy. It's a shame the Scottish Government seems so determined to continue on a path that risks jeopardising jobs growth and investment.
"Retailers are demonstrating their commitment to Scotland by opening more stores and employing a growing number of local people. It would be terrible to see that growth slowed or halted as a result of the Scottish Government enacting a policy which will make the country a less welcoming place to do business.
"During the next two weeks, ahead of the vote on the proposed levy, Scottish politicians and the Scottish public can expect to hear many key voices from the worlds of retail and business raised in opposition. Preventing this ill-conceived measure from going ahead will be crucial to Scotland's economic security in the months and years ahead."
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