Pic: Big supermarkets like Tescos should contribute something back to the local economy, say Greens
Brighton & Hove City Council has adopted a Green proposal to join the national campaign by councils for local powers to rebalance their local economies.
The campaign seeks powers from local government for councils to introduce a levy upon bigger retailers to better support smaller ones.
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, proposed of the motion.
Jason said, “I’m delighted that our proposal to join this campaign has been supported.
“Even a tiny levy on large retailer outlets such as supermarkets would really help us rebalance a national system that unfairly favours larger retailers.
“In the spirit of localism, I hope the government listens to councils and communities across the country and gives us the flexibility to support smaller shops and our local economy.”
For more information please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party on 01273 766 670.
*The motion passed at Brighton & Hove City Council’s Policy & Resources Meeting on June 12th:
The motion asked 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 was 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.”
*The campaign’s request to national government is for local powers in principle, not the specific level. Some have suggested a figure of 8.5% on properties with a rateable value of over £500,000 in accordance with the 2012 Northern Ireland Assembly legislation. However councils would each have to decide whether and how they use the power, and at what thresholds/rates.
*Some ideas for expenditure of the levy income have included additional local small business rate relief (as currently larger retailers pay less rates per unit of profit or turnover), improvements to shopping areas and better bus routes to shops – but these would need to be set out and agreed on by councillors at a future council committee meeting.
*More information about the Local Works campaign can be found here: http://localworks.org/pages/supermarkets