Retail chief attacks NI tax proposals

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Jane Bevis says Large Retailer Levy would make market less competitive

A proposed tax on large retail premises in Northern Ireland would ruin Belfast’s chances of becoming one of the UK’s top 10 retail destinations, the head of the country’s Retail Consortium has warned.

Jane Bevis, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC), said it was vital to maintain confidence in the private sector in order to attract investment.

She insists a Large Retailer Levy targeting successful companies under the guise of supporting small businesses would prevent Belfast competing as effectively with other global cities for private sector investment.

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“It’s no good announcing an intention to offer tax incentives in the shape of corporation tax breaks on the one hand and then slapping on an extra business rate levy with the other,” she said.

“It’s not just the businesses targeted by such a levy that lose confidence in the intention and integrity of the Executive, it’s all businesses which fear that they may be seen as similar, easy targets in future. One ill-considered move can unpick all of those other, positive efforts,” she added.

Speaking at last week’s Retail NI conference, Bevis said Northern Ireland needed “consistency, continuity and certainty”.

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