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New government data

Soaring tax burden exposes pressure on Scottish shops

Stores are closing under the burden of rising costs (photo: Terry Murden)


The extent of the additional costs faced by Scotland’s retail industry has been revealed in new figures showing the tax burden leapt by 27.9% to £579.3 million over the nine years.

Taxes paid by the retail sector in Scotland increased from £452.9m to £579.3m over the period to 2016, while the number of retail stores fell 7.5% from 24,256 to 22,434.

By contrast the amount raised from business taxes as a whole over the period dipped slightly, to £4.18 billion.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, commented: “These figures graphically highlight the rising burden of taxation faced by the Scottish retail industry during a period which has seen a reduction in the number of retail stores.

“Since this data was collated the industry has of course been hit further by the introduction of the UK Government’s Apprenticeship Levy and by the Scottish Government’s doubling of the Large Business Rates Supplement.

“Retail is undergoing a period of profound transition driven by changes in shopping habits, weak consumer demand, and rising government-imposed costs.

“It is a hugely challenging time for retailers who are adapting and trying to reinvent themselves, however this is made all the harder by having to fork out more and more in taxation.

“That is why we want to see a more ambitious timeframe for restoring parity with England on the large firms rates supplement, as well as a moratorium on any new or additional business rates levies.”


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