‘Tesco tax’ price rise fears

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Borough Council
Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Borough Council
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Fears have been raised that a proposed tax on the profits of supermarkets could end up hitting Fylde coast shoppers in the pocket.

Calls for the so-called Tesco Tax, which would see a levy imposed on supermarkets and money raised used to help local businesses, have been backed by 20 councils around the country.

The plans would raise an estimated £400m nationally, to be used by councils to improve the community, but there are concerns the measures could backfire.

A spokesman for Fylde Council said it had not been involved in putting forward the proposals.

He added: “We have not considered it and the council does not have a corporate view.

“But the council would be concerned that any tax increase would be passed on to the shoppers and Fylde council believes in keeping costs low.”

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, said: “A supermarket tax could not only cause prices to go up but also deter investment and development in the area.

“There is already a system in place to levy contributions from developers towards infrastructure and services within communities, which can work to mitigate any impact from planned developments, depending on the area and nature of the proposal.”

The calls for the tax were led by Derby City Council and the BBC has reported another 19 authorities are behind the idea.

A similar tax is already in force in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Supporters say the money raised could be used by councils to support the local economy and help stem the flow of money out of the area that is caused by large out-of-town retailers.

But critics warn the costs will simply be passed on to consumers in the form of higher food prices.

Announcing the plans, Derby City Council leader Ranjit Banwait said: “Research has shown that 95 per cent of all the money spent in any large supermarket leaves the local economy for good, compared to just 50 per cent from local

independent retailers. This levy is a modest attempt to ensure more of that money re-circulates within and continues to contribute to local jobs and local trade.”

Nobody from Blackpool Council was available for comment yesterday.