BRITAIN’s store chiefs are begging Rishi Sunak to permanently cut business rates to save the high street.
The heads of Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Pets at Home have written to the Chancellor for help.
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Along with other firms, they warn shops in Tory Blue Wall seats are being hit hardest — and are in desperate need of “levelling up”. Research shows nearly 80 per cent of constituencies with the highest rates burden are in the North and Midlands.
The Chancellor is expected to continue the business rates holiday temporarily in next month’s Budget. He is also set to raise the contactless limit to £100.
Firms say at least 15,000 jobs have been lost due to the pandemic and they need extra support or will cease to exist. The letter to Mr Sunak calls on him to help with “rebalancing the tax system” by slapping online giants with a one per cent extra charge.
Ministers must “ensure online and bricks and mortar retailers pay a similar proportion of tax”.
It comes after reports online giants like Amazon may face a higher levy this autumn as the Chancellor looks to rake in extra revenue.
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We believe strongly that there should be a level playing field for all retailers, online or physical.” A survey of 750 small to medium sized firms found 30 per cent said they will close for good if the lockdown continues,
Meanwhile, losses at the top 100 UK restaurants doubled to £571million in the year to the start of last March, research from accountancy group UHY Hacker Young shows.
The Treasury said last night it is considering options for further Covid-related support via business rates reliefs, and for an online sales tax as part of its business rates review.
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