Scotland politics

Bid to scrap 'Tesco tax' defeated at Holyrood

A last-minute bid to scupper Scottish government plans for a tax on supermarkets and large shops has been defeated.

The so-called Tesco tax will see retailers which sell alcohol and tobacco pay an extra £95m over the next three years.

Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell said it was a "tax raid" on successful companies.

But her motion to scrap the health-related policy was voted down by Holyrood's local government committee.

It had been possible that Ms Mitchell's motion could have been passed in the vote, following the suspension from the committee of SNP member Bill Walker pending an investigation into allegations of domestic abuse.

But Labour "reluctantly" decided to back the levy, which has been criticised by the British Retail Consortium as a "random tax".

It was set out in the government's 2012-13 budget, which was passed by parliament last month.

Scottish ministers say the levy is vital for tackling health concerns, and added that it would only affect the very largest retailers in Scotland - about 240 shops.

Local government committee convener and SNP MSP Joe Fitzpatrick said those with the broadest shoulders had to share the burden.

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