'Tesco tax' on large NI retailers to go ahead

Published:  19 December, 2011

NORTHERN IRELAND: Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has said that a levy on large stores is to go ahead but at a reduced rate.

The so-called "Tesco tax" has been fiercely opposed by large retailers who said it could limit investment and cost jobs. On average big retailers will pay an extra charge of £66,000 a year, raising £5m. This will be used to fund a rate cut for small shops.

The levy will be at a rate of 15%, not 20% as originally planned and will affect 76 large shops.

Businesses with more than three branches will not qualify for the rate cut - which means bookmakers' chains and bank branches will be excluded from the lower rates benefit.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) welcomed the small business rate relief scheme. Its chief executive Glyn Roberts said: "While this scheme is not a silver bullet for problems facing small traders, it is an important initiative which will be widely welcomed."

"This is a good day for devolution and the Executive because it shows that having locally accountable ministers can make a real difference"

The scheme will be time-limited in legislation to three years, until 31 March 2015.

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