Bristol's large stores could be hit with new shop tax

Thirty-four of Bristol's biggest shops could be hit by a new tax of 8.5% of their rateable value.

The large retail levy has been an option for councils since the Sustainable Communities Act of 2007.

The Green Party supports the tax, saying the money raised - about £3.3m - would be pumped back into high streets.

But Labour, the Conservatives and some Liberal Democrats are against the proposal, which is to be discussed by the council in September.

The owners of the Cabot Circus shopping centre have objected to the scheme.

Fifteen of the stores that would be affected are in the city centre. A further 12 are out-of-town and the remaining seven are in town centre locations.

'Extremely damaging'

Destination Bristol and the Institute of Directors have also objected, saying it will deter future investment, penalise larger successful businesses and will increase costs for businesses which are already under pressure.

But The Federation of Small Businesses, Gloucester Road Traders' Association and the Bristol Pound support the plan.

Green Party councillor Daniella Radice proposed the idea to council.

"Supermarkets for example don't really bring anything much to Bristol - they're the ones who really distort the local food economy - and this money could support our local High Streets," said councillor Radice.

But councillor Gary Hopkins, Liberal Democrat spokesman on finance said the tax would be "extremely damaging".

"This is not just about supermarkets, the levy would be against all large stores so it would affect investors in Broadmead and Cabot Circus but not Cribbs Causeway," said councillor Hopkins.

A full meeting of the city council will examine a report on the proposals prepared by the overview and scrutiny management board on 10 September.

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