Sainsbury’s chief slams business rates as a historical anachronism

Kasmira Jefford
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TWO of Britain’s leading retail chiefs yesterday continued their crusade against business rates burdening the high street, labelling the tax as a “historical anachronism”.

J Sainsbury boss Justin King is among a number of retail bosses calling on the government for a level playing field on tax.

Speaking yesterday at the British Retail Consortium’s annual retail symposium, King said:

“As our industry is changing away from being a property intensive industry, to one where property plays a part but a much lesser part than it has historically, our tax system that raises local taxes primarily on property, is exposed as an historical anachronism.”

Terry Duddy, the chief executive of Home Retail Group who also delivered a speech, described the regime as “ridiculous” and blamed the tax, rather than the internet, for the high street’s demise.

“When Jessops and Comet went out of business, they were paying tens of millions of pounds worth of business rates,” he said.

King also addressed the issue of corporation tax saying it was a question of “morality” of some companies arranging their tax affairs so they do not have to pay their way.

He said it was an issue that consumers – by changing where they shop – are more likely to influence than politicians.