In a bid to save the high street, store chiefs have called on the Government to increase tax for online retailers, it has been reported today.
Urging the Treasury to rethink its strategy, B&Q CEO Ian Cheshire and Sainsbury’s boss Justin King have met with Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander to discuss alternatives, according to The Sun.
Pressure group and trade body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has set up a working group in examine ways to level the playing field.
Cheshire told the newspaper: “We have a 19th century tax system for a 21st century retail economy.
“The increase in rent and rates is squeezing the high street, forcing the shuttering of shops and leading to higher vacancy rates.”
Earlier this month, the BRC’s Footfall and Vacancies Monitor revealed that shop vacancy rates across the UK hit their highest rate since the survey began in July 2011, reaching 11.9 per cent in April, and the group noted that tackling rising business costs may improve the health of town centres.
Cheshire added: “For each £1 of sales, the online guys pay a lot less tax and we need a strategic rethink.
“We are putting together a working group to find a constructive way through this.
“We don’t want to be simply seen as whingeing. We’re not looking for a free pass, but a level playing field.”