Tackle duty fraud before raising VAT, says ACS

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ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has set out the key concerns of the local shop sector in advance of the Emergency Budget on the 22 June 2010. In the submission local shops urge the new Chancellor to think carefully about the alternatives before imposing new taxes or costs.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We need a new strategy to clamp down on illegal tobacco and alcohol sales in neighbourhoods, pubs and out of the back of white vans.

“The Chancellor must explore every option for tackling the deficit before imposing greater costs through taxation. Number one priority should be the five billion in lost revenue through smuggled tobacco and alcohol.”

The ACS submission also sets out local shop concerns about, bank lending, changes to VAT, business rates and spiraling employment costs.

Lowman added: “A VAT increase would be bad news as retailers work to fixed price points and use price – marked packs, so a VAT hike would not automatically be passed onto customers. If increases were passed on to customers it would undermine sales.

“This Government has been clear in its desire to get banks lending again, we will make every effort to assist in this vitally important work. We support the introduction of lending targets for banks, but this must be alongside a reversal of the increased costs that shops have seen in their day-to-day banking.”