Budget 2016: Tesco boss Dave Lewis urges government to reform business rates, warning that retail jobs could be lost without it

Catherine Neilan
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Lewis has already slammed the government for a number of recent policies

Tesco boss Dave Lewis has urged the government to reform business rates, claiming the "completely disproportionate" status quo will put further pressure on jobs in the retail sector.

Lewis has doubled down on his criticisms of government policy last year, when he slammed a number of issues including the "unsustainable" rates regime.

"Drastic Dave" backed a BRC report from last month which warned that almost a million people could lose their jobs if business rates aren't resolved, claiming it would add as much as £14bn to retailers bills over the next four years.

“If the government is not careful, it is going to keep piling on the burden," he told The Times. "Business rates are the single biggest tax Tesco pays – £700m a year.”

“There is a real risk that [this] will put pressure on employment in traditional retail,” he added.

Lewis has already made widespread job cuts since joining the business in 2014. Although he said nothing was imminent, the chief executive admitted "we have to keep that under review depending on what happens in the Budget".

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