I READ with interest your report (“SNP to scrap supermarket tax next year”, 10 January) detailing the Scottish Government’s decision not to extend beyond 2015 the health levy on large stores selling alcohol and tobacco. Any move that will help make the Scottish economy more competitive, encourage investment and job creation is to be welcomed. However, while the government plans to discontinue the health levy which will benefit the balance sheets of large supermarkets, it is proceeding with haste with its costly and unproven policy for plain packaging for tobacco products which will harm local retailers across the length and breadth of Scotland.
As emerging evidence from Australia clearly shows, plain packaging will disproportionately affect the margins of small retailers who rely on tobacco sales, and the associated footfall, for their income.
We call on the Scottish Government to reflect on the damaging economic consequences for Scottish retailers of yet another “public health” measure.
Policy and public affairs manager
Scottish Grocers’ Federation