Thu 3 Dec, 2020

It’s clear that the gap between small retail businesses and giant corporations is widening because of this pandemic, which will have a devastating impact on our already struggling high streets Mark Ruskell

The Scottish Government has confirmed it has entered discussions with the UK Government over Scottish Green proposals for a windfall tax on companies that have greatly increased profits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The profits of supermarkets was raised by Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell in April, predicting that Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and others would post record profits during lockdown. 

Mr Ruskell raised a windfall tax at COVID committee last month after it emerged that prediction had come to pass, including for online retailers like Amazon.

Some of these businesses have benefited from emergency stimulus funding, and yesterday announcement from Tesco that it will voluntarily repay £585m of rates relief.

This was raised by Mark Ruskell in the Scottish Parliament today, and in response Minister for Public Finance Ben MacPherson said: “The Scottish Government is engaged, as you might expect, with the UK Government on a windfall tax.”

Responding, Mark Ruskell said: “It’s clear that the gap between small retail businesses and giant corporations is widening because of this pandemic, which will have a devastating impact on our already struggling high streets.

“Tesco has shown that companies who have made astronomical profits from COVID have a duty to pay back support funding, but a voluntary approach alone won’t save our smaller businesses.

“I’m very pleased that the Scottish Government has decided to take the idea of a windfall tax forward in discussions with the UK Government. This tax could be a useful tool to ensure that there is more support for the businesses that are being crippled by this pandemic.”

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