Big stores hit by Northern Ireland 'Tesco tax'

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The Independent Online

A controversial levy on large stores comes into force in Northern Ireland this weekend.

The scheme, dubbed the "Tesco tax", revalues rates on commercial premises that have a rateable value of more than £500,000. The proceeds will be used to reduce rates for smaller businesses and will affect 76 stores in Northern Ireland. It is thought it will cost big shops an average of £66,000 a year.

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, which represents large retailers, has said the levy is unfair and poses a risk to future investment. Ikea has claimed that Finance Minister Sammy Wilson could be putting jobs at risk.

However, Mr Wilson has said the levy will help people struggling in the harsh economic climate.