Rejection for supermarket levy campaign backed by Bishopston councillor

October 01 2013

Moves to back a campaign to impose a levy on large retailers in the city to benefit small independent businesses have been curtailed after a full council meeting last month.

by Rebecca Day

Moves to back a campaign to impose a levy on large retailers in the city to benefit small independent businesses have been curtailed after a full council meeting last month.

The motion, put forward by local Green councillor Daniella Radice called for the council to support an 8.5 per cent levy on large supermarkets.

Ms Radice suggested that this could raise approximately £1.6million a year to support local, independent retailers, creating “long-term economic prosperity for our city”.

She said: “Small businesses tend to keep more of their money in the city, while 95 per cent of large retailers’ profit goes out of Bristol. In this time of austerity, where money must be spent on keeping our existing public services going, there is no other source of money to support small businesses.”

Despite the council rejecting the supermarket levy, several other English councils have passed similar motions, including Bradford, Aylesbury Vale and Leeds.

Ms Radice added: “This means [these councils] could well be putting the idea forward to the Government. If they accept it, they could make it an option for councils across the country.

“If it is [accepted] I will be lobbying the council to implement it because I believe that having local high streets and independent shops are a vital part of creating a sustainable economy.”

The levy was rejected on the grounds that it could force larger retailers out of the city.

Liberal Democrat councillor Mark Wright, who is a part of the Broadmead Business Improvement District committee, voted against the levy.

He stated: “It turns out that it might not be nearly as good as what we thought it might be.

“We can’t apply it to just supermarkets – it has to apply to all big businesses. But they will be penalised simply for being ‘big’. It’s not something that would be particularly helpful for the city.”

Mr Wright added: “We already have this fantastic system – it’s become quite clear that this levy would interfere with this system we’ve already got and that works really well. For that reason we shouldn’t jeopardise something which delivers millions of pounds worth of improvements across the city.”

  • Bishopston councillor Daniella Radice is to take over as leader of the Bristol Green Party.  The former mayoral candidate was named as the new leader after Tess Green stepped down to become deputy. Ms Green was leader of Bristol Greens for almost three years, in which time she saw the number of Greens elected to the city council double to four.