SCOTTISH Nationalists have seized on the support of small businesses to defend the so-called "Tesco tax" which Finance Secretary John Swinney plans to use to raise an extra £30 million.
Earlier this week it was revealed that big stores in the centre of Edinburgh face a 1m tax bombshell as a result of the retail levy, originally aimed at out-of-town supermarkets.
However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said 74 per cent of its members backed the levy and 86 per cent of the predicted revenue would be coming from the "big four" supermarkets.
Marco Biagi, SNP candidate for Edinburgh Central in May's Holyrood elections, said: "The FSB represent mainstream Scottish business opinion and should be listened to.
"The very largest businesses, making record profits, have to pay their fair share when funding for vital services is tight."
The Scottish Government has said only 0.1 per cent of retailers will have to pay the levy.