The so-called “Tesco Tax” is already being demanded by 19 local authorities in England as a way of ensuring that supermarket spending re-circulates in local economies.They estimate that such a levy, which already operates in Northern Ireland and Scotland, could raise up to £400 million a year.
However, the UK government says additional taxes on supermarkets would push up food prices.Now Martin Crumpton, who led opposition to a new Sainsbury’s store being built in Llangollen, has written to North Wales AMs calling for a supermarket tax in Wales.
In a letter to the politicians he says: “Wales is haemorrhaging money to England. Much of it is unavoidable - taxes, insurance premiums, mortgages, gas and electricity, petrol. Virtually all of it goes to England and English companies, and there isn’t damned thing we can do about it.“It would be brilliant if it all went to Welsh companies, who could spend their profits in Wales with other Welsh companies.
“We’ve got a classic balance of trade problem. There’s a classic solution – impose tariffs, like so many councils in England want to do. Westminster opposes it but does the Welsh Government have to follow suite? I’d say yes.“Let’s put a levy on supermarkets and other super-large retailers. Let’s staunch the blood loss so we can keep the patient alive long enough to heal the wound. Tariffs don’t work in the long term so it’s up to you to legislate for a better successor to replace it, but right now all your economic policies are a façade.”
Mr Crumpton calls on the Welsh Government to impose a series of measures, including:
· Changing planning law so that businesses headquartered outside Wales are presumed harmful
· Refusing further expansion of existing non-indigenous multiples
· Enabling and encouraging Welsh councils to levy large, non-indigenous stores, with the strict caveat that the proceeds in their entirety benefit the local businesses from which the levies are exacted and must not be pooled or diverted.