Brighton & Hove Green councillors are seeking cross-party support for a national campaign to give councils powers to introduce a levy on bigger retailers, in order to rebalance the economy in favour smaller ones.
The proposal is being considered at the council’s Policy & Resources Committee meeting on 12 June.
Greens have highlighted research showing that money spent in local and independent shops is worth many times more to the local economy, as it is re-spent locally by shop-owners – whether in wages to local people, in contracts with local suppliers, or to local accountants.
In contrast research suggests that some 95% of the money spent in large shops is siphoned away from our local economy to head office and shareholders.
The government has ruled out reviewing nationally-set business rates for another three years – even though according to The Federation of Small Businesses business rates are five times more expensive for small businesses as a proportion of turnover than they are for large companies.
Councillor Jason Kitcat, Council Leader and Chair of the Policy & Resources Committee, said, “A small local levy on large retailer outlets such as supermarkets would represent a tiny fraction of the multi-million pound profits they make.
“But it could really help us rebalance a national system that is weighted in favour of large retailers.
“This measure could see money redistributed to help smaller independent businesses through schemes like local rate discounts, area improvements or bus routes.
“Large shops like supermarkets have a part to play in our local economy.
“However we want to make sure that they contribute to as well as take from local communities – especially when their continued expansion threatens the diverse small businesses that make Brighton & Hove such a unique place to live and visit.”
*The motion is being proposed by Councillor Kitcat at Brighton & Hove City Council’s Policy & Resources Meeting on June 12, papers for which will be made public here: http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=689&MId=5090
*The motion asks the committee to sign up to the “˜Local Works’ campaign for levy powers, and adds Brighton & Hove City Council’s support to the joint submission led by Derby City Council on behalf of other local authorities.
*The text of the motion is as follows:
This Committee resolves:
“To endorse the Local Works campaign for a ‘supermarket levy’, and support the Derby City Council-led bid to government requesting relevant powers under the Sustainable Communities Act.”
*More information about the Local Works campaign can be found here: http://localworks.org/pages/supermarkets