Swinney visits Falkirk to defend tax

John Swinney visits Falkirk
John Swinney visits Falkirk

Plans to tax retailers have been defended by a Scottish Minister.

Finance Secretary John Swinney announced his new Scottish budget for the next year last week.

It includes a new levy on major retailers supplying alcohol and tobacco products which could raise £30 million in its first year.

In Falkirk on Tuesday, Mr Swinney said the cash would be used to pay for preventative health care.

He said: “The public health levy in the budget is designed to recognise that Scotland suffers from serious problems due to significant alcohol and tobacco use. This levy will help to create new resources to invest in public health preventative measures.”

However, retailers have criticised the Government for a lack of information about how the new levy will operate.

Following a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) involving retail bosses and the Government, it was accused of sending out “a dangerous message”.

Ian Shearer, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “The Scottish Government and the retail sector have many goals in common. We both want to see growth, investment and job creation. But instead of partnership, ministers have opted for an ill-conceived and discriminatory tax.”