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Cornwall Council among 20 authorities calling for £400m 'Tesco tax' on supermarket giants to pay for damage to small businesses

By CGMikeS  |  Posted: July 28, 2014

Comments (11)

CORNWALL COUNCIL is part of a group of local authorities formally asking the government for new powers to tax large supermarkets.

A total of 20 local councils in England are backing the -called "Tesco tax" on big retailers, which could raise up to £400m a year if it was imposed on all big out-of-town retailers.

The councils want to gain the right to impose a levy on large supermarkets, retain the money raised, and use it to help small businesses and community centres.

Derby City Council has made the suggestion under the Sustainable Communities Act, which allows communities and councils to put forward ideas to government to solve local problems.

The extra business rates levy of up to 8.5% would affect any large retail outlet with a rateable value of more than £500,000.

A similar tax already operates in Northern Ireland and Scotland, but the government has said extra taxes on big supermarkets in England would hit the poorest families.

"We ruled out such a bid for higher taxes under the last round of the Sustainable Communities Act proposals," said the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). "There are much better ways to support small shops."

Supporters of the move believe the supermarkets can afford it, saying it is just a fraction of the costs that they had to swallow when VAT was raised in 2011.

The government will have six months to formally respond. If agreed, the levy would apply not just to the 20 councils seeking change but to all local authorities in England. And if every one of them took it up, it could cost the big supermarkets alone an extra £190m in tax.

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  • oldcove  |  July 28 2014, 10:46AM

    Forgive me for asking, but wasn't it Cornwall Council who gave Planning Permission for Sainsburys to obliterate Penzance Heliport, a vital link with the Scillies, with yet another unwanted shed? Still, there should be plenty of suitable empty properties in the town for Tesco & Co to open local 'convenience' stores where they will charge higher prices for yet more imported food. Another cunning plan Baldrick!

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  • parsnippasty  |  July 27 2014, 10:01PM

    One simple question to ask yourself; do I trust Cornwall council to run things well?

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  • break  |  July 27 2014, 8:41PM

    Cornwall would get nothing from this, we'd still get the usual "we've got no funding" excuse, while Cornwall Council would top up its secret bank accounts and give its councillors a pay rise.

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  • elleyc  |  July 27 2014, 7:26PM

    I doubt whether the tax payer will pay the tax. This is a slight dip in their profits. The prices in supermarkets are generally overinflated + they are in a constant price war. It seems supermarkets are reaching saturation point anyway, if Tesco's move away from building supermarkets and into housing is an indication. That's a scary thought Tesco building houses. Like all big corps bent on profit, they go in cheap, have little respect for the region, sap the life out of the local economy and need constantly growing resources infrastructure to feed them. It took the council a long time to wake up. Too little too late. The only other question is whether the taxes will feed back into the local economy.

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  • rcliffe  |  July 27 2014, 4:53PM

    There seems to have been dearth of public consultation over this move by Cornwall Council. But then shoppers and especially working families would hardly have been supportive of this extra tax so better not to ask them before proposing it. Families on modest incomes, whether in work or not, have been badly squeezed in recent years as income has not kept up with in inflation. This proposal would just rub salt in the wound.

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  • da_fish  |  July 27 2014, 8:21AM

    If this goes ahead we, the long suffering public, will pay this tax through the supermarket tills - all of us, no rebates for the poor or pensioners etc. Under these proposals the supermarkets become tax collectors for the Cornwall Council protection racket. If the wasters at County Hall want to raise taxes to pay for their seemingly endless extravagance the least they can do is be honest about it.

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  • parsnippasty  |  July 26 2014, 11:16PM

    Typical small town bureaucrats, "we know better what to do with your money than you do". Did anyone catch the last issue of "Private Eye" magazine? (Issue 1370. 11-24 July) Check out the "Rotten Burroughs" column, Cornwall Council gets a mention.

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  • Anyone  |  July 26 2014, 10:51PM

    And who will manage this tax, the people who cannot manage the taxes they get now, no I do not think so somehow, after all it was these same councils that let the supermarkets build where they have willy nilly anyway.

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  • Free2opine  |  July 26 2014, 10:25PM

    So who will end up paying this tax I wonder, the shoppers perhaps!? Why do councils make it so awkward and so expensive to park anywhere near local shops? Supermarket car parks are generally free. Why don't councils lower the rates for small businesses!?

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  • TransitionNC  |  July 26 2014, 4:16PM

    Much better way to stop supermarkets damaging local food businesses is to require them to devote one whole isle to local food. Further more, this one isle should be under the exclusive management of a local food producers group: they organise layout, pricing, stocking, display equipment etc and the supermarket just collect payments at the tills as normal - and distributes the money to producers, keeping a maximum of 10% administration fee. That way we can combine the undoubted advantages of a single stop weekly shopping at supermarket with fully supporting local food (and other) businesses.

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