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SRC calls for tax breaks and scrap for online and out-of-town levy

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has called upon the government to reassure them that it will make no tax increases or freezes to business rates. Retailers also urged the government to scrap a proposed levy for online and out-of-town retailers.

Responding to the calls, the Scottish government has promised the SRC it will do all it can to help.

In an open letter from the SRC to finance secretary Derek Mackay, retailers have highlighted problems facing the industry ahead of the Autumn budget.

David Lonsdale, organisation director at SRC, said: “The retail industry is going through an unprecedented period of transition. Technology, changing customer behaviour, constrained household incomes, and significantly rising cost pressures have led to a perfect storm.

“It’s hard to think of a tougher time to be a retailer and it’s difficult to be clear about what the future of the industry will be. Keeping costs down is one part of the equation – another is growing the economy and encouraging consumer spending. With that in mind, and after significant alteration last year, we believe income tax rates should not increase in the budget.”

He added: “Furthermore, the finance secretary should bring forward his planned zero-rate income tax band which would reduce bills for lower earning workers – those most affected by inflation and rising interest rates.”

A Scottish government spokesperson, said: “We are already delivering the most competitive package of rates relief in the UK, including the Small Business Bonus which to date has saved Scottish firms £1.5bn.”

The SRC added that if the government were to proceed with the online and out-of-town levy, it wants to see a cap on the amount of the levy and ratepayers given a say on how the funds raised are spent. The association also said the levy should focus on supporting town centres.

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