Retail trade union Usdaw has added its voice to those calling on Scottish Ministers to reject plans for a business rate surtax on grocery stores.
In its Budget 2024-25 published in late December the Scottish Government stated it would ‘explore’ the introduction of a new business rate surtax on grocery stores in advance of the next Scottish Budget, to help plug a gap in the devolved administration’s finances.
The Scottish Retail Consortium has already voiced deep disquiet over the plans for a new tax on retailers.
Tracy Gilbert – Usdaw Regional Secretary for Scotland said, “The Scottish Government should be making it as easy as possible for retailers to invest and create good jobs in Scotland, not making it more difficult with the threat of a costly new business rate surtax. This arbitrary move could exacerbate the challenges facing retail. It could well have significant unintended consequences particularly if it impacted on the amount available to retailers’ to invest in training budgets or colleague bonuses.”
David Lonsdale – Scottish Retail Consortium’s Director, added, “Usdaw’s intervention shows that a growing range of voices from across Scotland’s retail industry are expressing serious doubts about the wisdom of introducing a new tax on food retailers.
“A new surtax would be a retrograde step and firmly at odds with the Government’s New Deal for Business. Grocers already face a swathe of upcoming new regulations and have also been lumbered with huge costs as a result of the deposit return scheme farrago. Now they face an additional tax which even the Scottish Government admits is little more than a cash grab. We hope Scottish Ministers take heed and shelve the surtax.”