Retail trade bodies have urged the Scottish government and supermarket multiples to act in the best interest of town centres rather than engage in a war of words over the large stores levy planned for the country.

The 'supermarket levy' proposals, first announced in the draft spending plans for Scotland in 2011/12, would mean that any store property valued at more than £750,000 would face a 35% rise in business rates. Businesses affected have labelled the proposal as "ill-conceived".

An open letter from the Association of Convenience Stores and the Scottish Grocers' Federation advised the Scottish government to reassess its business rate supplement scheme for large retailers, describing it as "clumsy" and "in need of significant improvement". The letter also went on to label the supermarkets' reaction to the proposal as "over-the-top" .

The groups applauded the government for worrying about the plight of town centres, but encouraged it to think more creatively, offering up options such as preferential business rates and rents, and investing to improve amenities such as free car parking.

Scottish Parliament is due to vote on the levy later this month.

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