Evidence will be given in Scottish Parliament today that could hinder an already fragile retail sector north of the border.
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney will aim to justify his Large Retail Levy proposal, which if passed will place higher taxes on larger companies with a turnover of more than £750,000, but the plans are not being welcomed by the sector.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has called the scheme unfair, unjust and inequitable, and has requested that Swinney reconsiders the move.
Fiona Moriarty, Director of the SRC, warned today that the consequences of this tax for Scotland “are extremely serious”.
“There will be fewer large retail stores opening in the future and fewer existing stores will be expanded,” she explained.
“That means a reduction in future job creation, both at the major retailers and at businesses which support them.”
If introduced the levy would affect major retail employers such as Tesco and Asda. Large retailers in Scotland employs thousands of people and contributed billions to the Scottish economy last year.
The Scottish retail sector, which saw total year-on-year sales growth of 3.4 per cent last month, is likely to be held back if the proposal goes through, claims the SRC.
Data from the organisation indicates that nearly 250,000 people, or one in nine of the Scotland’s workforce, are employed in the nation’s retail sector, highlighting the huge importance of the industry to the country.
Moriarty added: “Retailers with sites in Scotland are committed to the country. They employ local people, help them develop skills and already pay large sums in tax and to support local regeneration efforts.
“The contribution the retail sector makes to the Scottish economy is substantial and will grow, providing this anti-retail levy is rejected.”