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SRC wants  key questions answered

Retailers set out five key questions Swinney must answer over Scottish levy.


SRC wants key questions answered

Retailers set out five key questions Swinney must answer over Scottish levy.

The SRC is challenging the myths which have been deployed in an attempt to justify singling out a small number of firms within a single sector for extra taxation. Retailers have united to warn of the threat this levy poses to future job creation and investment in Scotland. John Swinney must answer these questions:

- Why has this been described as an out-of-town tax when it also affects town and city centre premises?
- How can you depict this tax as beneficial to smaller businesses when it is not raising any additional income for them, beyond what was already being provided by the small business bonus scheme?
- How can you claim to support economic growth while at the same time penalising companies who create thousands of jobs?
- What is your justification for singling out one particular part of one particular sector? Did you consider the contributions which might have been made by, for example, the energy industry or the banks?
- Have you assessed the potential damage to future investment and job creation which will be caused by making Scotland the most expensive part of the UK in which to locate a major store?

Scottish Retail Consortium Director, Fiona Moriarty, said, "It is extremely worrying that there is so little clarity on a key budget proposal so late in the day. The issues we urge the Finance Secretary to address are ones which we have been seeking explanations for since this misconceived tax was first announced.

"The consequences for Scotland of this tax are extremely serious. There will be fewer large retail stores opening in the future and fewer existing stores will be expanded. That means a reduction in future job creation, both at the major retailers and at businesses which support them.

"Last week members of the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee made it clear they felt there were flaws with the proposed large retailer levy. Their report on the draft budget specifically highlighted the contradiction between the measure's intention to support town centres and the fact it will increase taxes for some key town centre stores. This is not the only anomaly which needs to be explained.

"How is this levy a tax on out-of-town development, when it also hits city centre stores on some of Scotland's most prestigious streets? How does this levy help smaller enterprises, when the money it raises will not be dedicated to additional small business support or the regeneration of our urban areas?

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