Alcohol levy "unfair", says SGF

13 February, 2008

The Scottish Grocers' Federation has dubbed the Scottish government's plans to charge all drinks retailers an extra levy on top of licensing fees "unfair and disproportionate".

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced on Monday that the so-called "polluter pays" tax would be considered for the off as well as the on-trade.

In proposals to be consulted on this spring, MacAskill wants to see money raised from the drinks trade used to fund services needed to cope with antisocial behaviour caused through heavy drinking, such as additional policing.

SGF chief executive John Drummond said the proposal was "outrageous" because retailers in areas not affected by antisocial behaviour would still be subjected to paying the levy.

He said: "The levy is unfair and disproportionate. If it's a standard levy then it would mean a small shop would pay the same as a supermarket. We also have enforcement arrangements in place already to tackle antisocial behaviour and we should be using them."

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