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Scottish government attacked for breaking regulation pledge

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The Scottish government must address the impact of its proposed new supermarket tax, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has warned today.

The independent Regulatory Review Group has received a letter from the SRC attacking the Scottish government for breaking its regulation pledge by failing to carry out a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for the new tax.

On its website, the government outlines its commitment to consulting with all parties potentially affected by proposals for new regulation and states that: “All policy changes, whether European or domestic, which may have an impact upon business or the third sector, should be accompanied by a BRIA.”

Last month, Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney announced the intention to increase business rates for large retailers of alcohol and tobacco in his Draft Budget, which the SRC pointed out came without any consultation with the sector.

The pressure group has called on the Regulatory Review Group, chaired by Professor Russel Griggs, to use its influence to ensure that a full impact assessment takes place as soon as possible.

Ian Shearer, Director of the SRC, believes that breaking this promise would damage the credibility of its commitment to Better Regulation and Scotland’s reputation as a place to do business.

“The Scottish government seems determined to plough ahead with a discriminatory tax on the sector without properly assessing the consequences,” he said.

“The tax has been dressed up as a public health levy but is effectively a revenue raid on supermarkets. No evidence has been presented of what it will do to reduce the consumption of alcohol or tobacco, and funds from it are not being dedicated to preventative health measures.

“It puts future investment and job creation in doubt at some of the country’s biggest employers.”

Published on Thursday 27 October by Editorial Assistant

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