Sunday 19 February 2017 8:48 am

The business rates backlash continues... this time Sainsbury's speaks out

Sainsbury's is the latest company to raise its voice amid growing concern over the impending rise in business rates which will see thousands of businesses with a bigger bill.

The supermarket's chief executive Mike Coupe slammed the levy as "archaic" and called for reforms to "level the playing field with firms such as Amazon which do not have a presence on hte high street.

Read more: Culture shock: How London's theatres will be squeezed by business rate hike

"The way it currently stands, there is an advantage for those without bricks and mortar operations, so there's a strong case for a level playing field in business rates and taxation more generally," Coupe told the Press Association.

"Businesses like ours with lots of property and employees face a bigger burden than others," he added.

"As it stands, we could see high streets face serious challenges and ultimately more closures. It could impact investment in places that most need it, in areas of the country where there is already a marginal call on investment."

Read more: Retail group urges government to reduce the burden of business rates

Thousands of pubs, restaurants, shops and even hospitals are preparing to pay billions of pounds more with the first re-evaluation of the commercial property tax in seven years due to take place from April. 

Coupe's comments add to growing pressure from business for a rethink over the rise. On Friday leading business groups joined forces to fight back against the levy which it dubbed "outrageous".

The government said the majority of businesses will see a fall in business rates or no change.