Bristol Green Party has come out in support of a campaign - which - if implemented - could raise up to £1.6 miliion pa (2) for the local shops, services and communities. Greens are backing a 'Local Works' campaign (1) which seeks to levy an additional 8.5% on business rates for supermarkets with a rateable value of over half a million pounds.
The campaign asks councils to back a proposal to make use of the Sustainable Communities Act (3) to introduce the levy. Such a levy already exists - it was introduced in Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2012. Thousands of small businesses have already benefitted. The aim of the campaign is to adopt this measure in the rest of the UK.
Green councillor Tess Green said:
"The case for the benefits local shops give to the economy have been shown time and time again. More money spent in local shops is spent locally. More people are employed. And people are more likely to walk or cycle there, thereby benefitting the local environment."
Green campaigner Charlie Bolton said:
"This is a fantastic opportunity to support Bristols local high streets, local communities and local shops. In times of catastrophic cuts to local services, we'd be crazy not to support this proposal -
which asks the very largest supermarkets to pay a little bit more - in order to support a large number of smaller businesses."
Greens are urging people who agree with them to sign the on-line petition set up on the council's website. This can be found at http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/epetition_core/community/petition/2289
Alternatively if you want to collect some of your own paper signtures you can download a form to do so here: Supermarket_Levy_Petition.pdf
(2) Green councillors have ascertained from officers that
'"There are 12 supermarkets in Bristol with a rateable value of £500,000 or more (I haven't included Costco at Avonmouth, but can if you think it should be included).
The total rateable value of these supermarkets is £19,460,000, a levy of 8.5% would therefore raise £1,654,100. You will need to note that some supermarkets may be part of a Business Improvement District and therefore be paying an additional levy over and above business rates
(Asda in Bedminster is one such example). These are becoming an increasingly important way of funding town centre improvements."
(4) Rationale used in Ireland for introducing the scheme:
paragraphs 36 and 37