Major Brighton and Hove retailers face top-up tax proposals

Major retailers face top-up tax proposals

Major retailers face top-up tax proposals

First published in News by , Business editor

MAJOR retailers could be charged top-up taxes under plans being drawn up by Green councillors.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s minority Green administration wants the power to levy higher taxes to help smaller independent retailers.

Other local authority areas which have proposed the idea have suggested a rate of 8.5% on properties with a rateable value of more than £500,000.

Under this rate 50 premises would be affected in Brighton and Hove which would raise around £860,000 – though councillors have not yet confirmed numbers.

The revenue could be redistributed through small business rate relief, improvements to shopping areas and better bus routes to shops.

The plan has the backing of Labour councillors but not the Conservatives.

Money spent in independent shops is worth many times more to the economy because it is re-spent locally by shop owners, whereas 95% of money spent in large shops is siphoned away to head office and shareholders, the Greens argue.

The Federation of Small Businesses says business rates are proportionally five times more expensive for small businesses compared to large firms.

Green leader Jason Kitcat 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.”

Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour group, said: “It is good that the Greens are picking up this campaign started by Labour-run councils around the country.

“Many local traders might say it is ‘too little, too late’ given the harm their policies have caused, but it is welcome nonetheless.”

Geoffrey Theobald, leader of the Conservative group, said: “This proposal is lacking in some pretty important basic detail, such as what constitutes a ‘bigger retailer’ and how much the tax would be. I am all in favour of supporting independent traders but I’m not sure arbitrarily penalising supermarkets is the best way to do it.”

Tony Mernagh, executive director of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “There is no doubt that because of the arcane way that rateable values are worked out small businesses are disadvantaged.

“Since the Greens ideological distaste for supermarkets and the public’s dissatisfaction with some of the larger players is also well known it could be construed to be picking on an easy target.”

Gavin Stewart, manager of the Brighton Business Improvement District (BID), said traders already paid into the BID and an additional levy could cause big business to desert the scheme, denying smaller businesses Christmas lights, security and a bright, vibrant and city centre. He added: “Conversely, if the additional levy continued to pay for these services, allowing the smaller businesses to not pay in to a BID, then I can see real benefits for the wider business community.”

The motion proposes the council’s policy and resources committee sign up to the Local Works campaign for levy powers in principle.

This follows Derby City Council’s similar application with more than 60 other councils supporting the bid.

The proposal will be debated on June 12.

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:47pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Gribbet says...

Warren Morgan is such a snake, why wasn't HE bright enough to "pick up this campaign started by Labour-run councils around the country", leaving it instead to the Greens to raise the idea for B&H?
Warren Morgan is such a snake, why wasn't HE bright enough to "pick up this campaign started by Labour-run councils around the country", leaving it instead to the Greens to raise the idea for B&H? Gribbet
  • Score: -2

4:51pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Man of steel says...

And who will end up paying this extra cost?
It will make it even more economical to go to Worthing, Lewes or Eastbourne.
And who will end up paying this extra cost? It will make it even more economical to go to Worthing, Lewes or Eastbourne. Man of steel
  • Score: -3

5:24pm Tue 3 Jun 14

bug eye says...

this stick is not exactly going to get the much needed big businesses to come to the city and create jobs.
surely it would be better to offer a carrot and encourage the big businesses to voluntarily pay into a scheme for this purpose and in return maybe offer free advertising space within the small shops (a bit like sponsoring a roundabout), or joint loyalty schemes. surely the political parties can be a bit more imaginative. lets hope the change in 2015 is not just a swap.
this stick is not exactly going to get the much needed big businesses to come to the city and create jobs. surely it would be better to offer a carrot and encourage the big businesses to voluntarily pay into a scheme for this purpose and in return maybe offer free advertising space within the small shops (a bit like sponsoring a roundabout), or joint loyalty schemes. surely the political parties can be a bit more imaginative. lets hope the change in 2015 is not just a swap. bug eye
  • Score: 3

6:11pm Tue 3 Jun 14

HJarrs says...

Gribbet wrote:
Warren Morgan is such a snake, why wasn't HE bright enough to "pick up this campaign started by Labour-run councils around the country", leaving it instead to the Greens to raise the idea for B&H?
Indeed, Warren is a proper politician. As slippery as an eel. Under his leadership an arrogant Labour Party have done nothing to further the city and plenty to sabotage progress. If the Greens are so bad for business, how come business is doing so well.
[quote][p][bold]Gribbet[/bold] wrote: Warren Morgan is such a snake, why wasn't HE bright enough to "pick up this campaign started by Labour-run councils around the country", leaving it instead to the Greens to raise the idea for B&H?[/p][/quote]Indeed, Warren is a proper politician. As slippery as an eel. Under his leadership an arrogant Labour Party have done nothing to further the city and plenty to sabotage progress. If the Greens are so bad for business, how come business is doing so well. HJarrs
  • Score: -2

7:07pm Tue 3 Jun 14

hursthill says...

What is always ignored when discussing business rates is the question of dealing with businesses operating from residential houses. They get away with paying £Zero in business rates. Businesses operating from commercial premises are put at a disadvantage.
What is always ignored when discussing business rates is the question of dealing with businesses operating from residential houses. They get away with paying £Zero in business rates. Businesses operating from commercial premises are put at a disadvantage. hursthill
  • Score: 1

7:24pm Tue 3 Jun 14

wexler53 says...

What a load of socialist poppycock !!!

But it could really help us rebalance a national system - Really ???

Who do you think you are Kit Kat? Not a national figure but a useless councillor representing a gang of incompetents nincompoops who think running a city is a lark.
What a load of socialist poppycock !!! But it could really help us rebalance a national system - Really ??? Who do you think you are Kit Kat? Not a national figure but a useless councillor representing a gang of incompetents nincompoops who think running a city is a lark. wexler53
  • Score: 2

9:16pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Bob_The_Ferret says...

What rubbish. Any business small enough to operate from the owner's home would probably pay considerably less in business rates in commercial premises once the small business rate relief is applied than the council tax the owner will be paying on the residential property.
What rubbish. Any business small enough to operate from the owner's home would probably pay considerably less in business rates in commercial premises once the small business rate relief is applied than the council tax the owner will be paying on the residential property. Bob_The_Ferret
  • Score: -1

9:22pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Bob_The_Ferret says...

My previous comment was supposed to be in reply to hursthill's comment above, but something isn't working properly.
My previous comment was supposed to be in reply to hursthill's comment above, but something isn't working properly. Bob_The_Ferret
  • Score: -1

9:58pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Valerie Paynter says...

Wonderful idea - far better than borrowing £36.2m to lend to i360 in vain hopes of getting that money to earn BHCC £1m a year!

Tesco won't leave town if taxed a little higher and its foreign shareholders won't notice. Waitrose has no freign shareholders and only its working employees see Waitrose profits so there is a question of fairness on that one.

Do they DARE pull the tail of American Express a foreign business on our doorstep providing major employment?

What about Legal & General who are already shedding staff nationally and look like having to put up with 630 kids plus 50 teachers disturbing their working conditions when the Spanish (foreign) bilingual school gets planning consent Weds and P& R agreement to sell a chunk of Hove Park to this free school? Might this tax plus prinary kids act as a disincentive to remain on City Park?
Wonderful idea - far better than borrowing £36.2m to lend to i360 in vain hopes of getting that money to earn BHCC £1m a year! Tesco won't leave town if taxed a little higher and its foreign shareholders won't notice. Waitrose has no freign shareholders and only its working employees see Waitrose profits so there is a question of fairness on that one. Do they DARE pull the tail of American Express a foreign business on our doorstep providing major employment? What about Legal & General who are already shedding staff nationally and look like having to put up with 630 kids plus 50 teachers disturbing their working conditions when the Spanish (foreign) bilingual school gets planning consent Weds and P& R agreement to sell a chunk of Hove Park to this free school? Might this tax plus prinary kids act as a disincentive to remain on City Park? Valerie Paynter
  • Score: 3

2:25am Wed 4 Jun 14

Gribbet says...

Valerie Paynter wrote:
Wonderful idea - far better than borrowing £36.2m to lend to i360 in vain hopes of getting that money to earn BHCC £1m a year!

Tesco won't leave town if taxed a little higher and its foreign shareholders won't notice. Waitrose has no freign shareholders and only its working employees see Waitrose profits so there is a question of fairness on that one.

Do they DARE pull the tail of American Express a foreign business on our doorstep providing major employment?

What about Legal & General who are already shedding staff nationally and look like having to put up with 630 kids plus 50 teachers disturbing their working conditions when the Spanish (foreign) bilingual school gets planning consent Weds and P& R agreement to sell a chunk of Hove Park to this free school? Might this tax plus prinary kids act as a disincentive to remain on City Park?
By the look of things it only apples to retail, so I don't see how Amex or L&G would really care about the proposal.
[quote][p][bold]Valerie Paynter[/bold] wrote: Wonderful idea - far better than borrowing £36.2m to lend to i360 in vain hopes of getting that money to earn BHCC £1m a year! Tesco won't leave town if taxed a little higher and its foreign shareholders won't notice. Waitrose has no freign shareholders and only its working employees see Waitrose profits so there is a question of fairness on that one. Do they DARE pull the tail of American Express a foreign business on our doorstep providing major employment? What about Legal & General who are already shedding staff nationally and look like having to put up with 630 kids plus 50 teachers disturbing their working conditions when the Spanish (foreign) bilingual school gets planning consent Weds and P& R agreement to sell a chunk of Hove Park to this free school? Might this tax plus prinary kids act as a disincentive to remain on City Park?[/p][/quote]By the look of things it only apples to retail, so I don't see how Amex or L&G would really care about the proposal. Gribbet
  • Score: 0

2:28am Wed 4 Jun 14

Gribbet says...

Man of steel wrote:
And who will end up paying this extra cost?
It will make it even more economical to go to Worthing, Lewes or Eastbourne.
Not sure Lewes is big enough to attract those sort of large retailers, plus the ones affected are probably already maxing out in Worthing and Eastbourne anyway.
[quote][p][bold]Man of steel[/bold] wrote: And who will end up paying this extra cost? It will make it even more economical to go to Worthing, Lewes or Eastbourne.[/p][/quote]Not sure Lewes is big enough to attract those sort of large retailers, plus the ones affected are probably already maxing out in Worthing and Eastbourne anyway. Gribbet
  • Score: 0

9:16am Wed 4 Jun 14

From beer to uncertainty says...

Alternative headline: larger food retailers set to pass on additional food cost to skint customers as council seeks to prop-up over-priced lentilgrocers, reinforce transport monopoly and line the pockets of specialist edible underpants retailers?
Alternative headline: larger food retailers set to pass on additional food cost to skint customers as council seeks to prop-up over-priced lentilgrocers, reinforce transport monopoly and line the pockets of specialist edible underpants retailers? From beer to uncertainty
  • Score: 0

10:27am Wed 4 Jun 14

hursthill says...

Bob_The_Ferret wrote:
My previous comment was supposed to be in reply to hursthill's comment above, but something isn't working properly.
What isn't working properly is your brain !!!

Many large businesses work from residenrial properties, employing many people, not only avoiding business rates, but also the other statutory requirements- paying for rubbish disposal, business tax on parking spaces, planning requirements etc.

But the council is too lazy to go after these tax avoiders.
[quote][p][bold]Bob_The_Ferret[/bold] wrote: My previous comment was supposed to be in reply to hursthill's comment above, but something isn't working properly.[/p][/quote]What isn't working properly is your brain !!! Many large businesses work from residenrial properties, employing many people, not only avoiding business rates, but also the other statutory requirements- paying for rubbish disposal, business tax on parking spaces, planning requirements etc. But the council is too lazy to go after these tax avoiders. hursthill
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree