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Greens seek a supermarket tax rise on large properties
A BID to make big supermarkets pay extra taxes is going to be put to the vote by Oxford city councillors.
The Green Party wants the council to adopt powers that it said would raise an extra £1m a year.
The move comes amid a rise in supermarket brands in the city, from 18 to 30 in the last five years.
Under the plan, properties with a rateable value of £500,000 or more will be taxed another 8.5 per cent of their existing annual business rates.
The Greens said the cash would go into council coffers – but the ruling Labour group warned it would go to the Treasury. The matter will be put to a vote at a council meeting on Monday.
Green councillor Dick Wolff said: “Obviously there are benefits in the services the supermarkets provide, but all the profits go out of the local community and are given as dividends to shareholders.
“But independent shop owners live in the area and spend their profits on local services.
“On the surface supermarkets are great, but the profit isn’t fed back. It is about keeping money in the local economy.”
The Labour group was to meet last night to discuss the matter. Executive board member for city development Colin Cook said there were “positives and negatives”. He said: “I know some are in favour, but others are worried that supermarkets might pass on the charges.
“But I think the problem with raising business rates by 8.5 per cent is that most of the money goes to the Government.
“And I don’t think it would actually make that much money – they may be over-egging the pudding at £1m.”
The powers – already adopted by Bristol City Council – could be granted under the 2007 Sustainable Communities Act.
Sian Williams, a spokesman for the Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government, said: “Councils should actively be helping local shops and local firms, not looking for ways to raise taxes on them that would only increase the cost of living for local people and destroy jobs.”
A new Co-operative shop on the corner of Walton Street and Little Clarendon Street opened on August 29 this year to become the twelfth Co-op in the city.
Sainsbury’s and Morrisons both hope to move into London Road in Headington, which is already home to Waitrose, Iceland and Co-op stores.
Tesco demolished the derelict Fox and Hounds pub in Abingdon Road in July for a Tesco Express store scheduled to open at the end of the year.
The motion will go to the full meeting of the council, which will start at 5pm on Monday at the town hall in St Aldate’s.
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