Supermarket giants have reiterated calls for a cut in business rates as firms endeavour to keep prices competitive for shoppers amid rising inflation.
Big names including Morrisons and Co-op have come together under a new Cut the Shops Tax campaign, organised by the Retail Jobs Alliance.
In a joint letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, bosses said a “meaningful cut” to business rates would “make a big difference to retailers’ ability to invest more in the shops and stores that we know customers value, as well as to create jobs.”
“This would make it easier for everyone in the retail sector to mitigate inflationary pressures, keep existing shops open and open new ones,” the signatories agreed.
It comes as the Treasury has launched a consultation on using an online sales tax as a way to cut business rates for shops.
Retail firms said on Tuesday that they were open to this prospect as a way to even the playing field of the overall tax system for the sector.
“This would help to level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers at a time when Covid-19 has accelerated shifts in retail which were already in evidence before the pandemic,” the letter stated.
Bosses cited a report that suggested half of all non-food sales will be made online by 2025 while “physical shops are taxed far more heavily than this newer and rapidly-growing part of the retail sector.”