Retail chief calls for GST to be scrapped on all food

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STATES Members need to ‘get their priorities straight’ and scrap GST on food, a retail chief has said after the Assembly agreed to explore introducing tax exemptions for eco-friendly products.

Mark Cox

As part of the ongoing Government Plan debate, Members accepted a proposal asking Treasury Minister Susie Pinel to investigate decreasing or waiving GST on items such as solar panels, electric bikes and double glazing.

However, acting chief executive for the Channel Islands Cooperative Society Mark Cox said any adjustments to the 5% tax should focus on food first.

He said that an increasing number of families were having to turn to food banks and that, while environmental policies were to be supported, the Assembly had got its priorities wrong.

‘We [the Co-op] have always said from the outset that GST should not apply to basic food stuffs. When you read more frequently about families being forced to use food banks and then see States Members considering reducing GST on high-end products before food, you have to wonder if they have their priorities wrong.’

He added that Members needed to ‘get their priorities straight’ and open up the discussion on food prices.

GST was first introduced in 2006 at 3% before rising to 5% four years later. The rates have not changed since 2010.

Asked whether he would support a sliding scale of GST on food products, Mr Cox said that would be too messy and he would favour scrapping the tax on all food.

He added that he would welcome an involvement in any discussions on the issue.

‘From the outset, GST was described as being kept simple by applying a standard rate, but if they are now willing to look at introducing any adjustments, food must come first,’ said Mr Cox.

Krystle Higgins

By Krystle Higgins

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