The BBC reports that the Liberal Democrats are calling for a supermarkets tax. Lib Dem opposition councillors on Torbay are calling for a levy of 8.5% of the business rate paid by stores with a rateable value of at least £500,000. In Torbay it is estimated this would raise £804,950 by taxing eight stores. The Lib Dem MP Adrian Sanders backs the idea on the grounds that supermarkets make "massive profits."
But Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis, said:
"Imposing new, additional taxes on supermarkets will push up the price of food and the cost of living, hitting low-income families the hardest.
"We ruled out such a bid for higher taxes under the last round of the Sustainable Communities Act proposals.
"There are much better ways to support small shops."
The Government has doubled small business rate relief from 2010 to 2014 and made the relief easier to claim – providing real help to small businesses across the country, including Torbay. The Localism Act has also given councils new powers to introduce local business rate discounts. The Lib Dem proposal is not about helping local shops by giving them lower tax – which I would favour – it is about sliding into lazy anti capitalist, anti profits prejudice. As Mr Lewis says those worse hit wouldn't be the fat cat supermarket bosses but the thousands of local families doing the weekly shop on tight budgets.