Levy should have lasted longer

First minister tells conference economic measures level the field

Mr Salmond said he looked forward to many years of partnership between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Grocers Federation.

THE only way to make competition fairer between c-stores and supermarkets is through economic policy, according to first minister Alex Salmond.

Speaking to the SGF conference at Hampden Park last month, Mr Salmond spoke out against imposing French-style restrictions on supermarket expansion, but expressed regret at the short life of his government’s public health levy, charged on large stores.
“I’m incredibly sympathetic to the question of independent retailers and companies, relative to bigger combines,” he said.
“I absolutely think the way to redress the playing field between the two is on the economics. That was the reasoning behind the small business bonus and that is the reason behind the supermarket levy.
“I think the only thing we did wrong with the supermarket levy was we made it for two or three years. We should have done it over a much longer period of time.
“You need to equalise the playing field, you need to allow people to compete. Any prescription on planning will be got around.”
The first minister, who is due to step down from the role this month, gave the keynote speech at the SGF conference at the invitation of president Abdul Majid.
In his speech he announced a new partnership between the SGF and the Scottish Government, building on the work of the Healthy Living Programme to help turn Scotland into a “Good Food Nation”.
“Scotland’s food and drink industry has a worldwide reputation for quality, but our diet has a reputation for unhealthiness,” he said.
“We want people in Scotland to take pride in the food we cook, serve and eat – not just the food we export. Achieving that vision requires a transformation in our relationship with food. You will be the first partner in this alliance to transform Scotland’s own consumption of our own quality food.”