// Tesco CEO Dave Lewis & Co-op CEO Steve Murrells publish open letter urging the government to reform business rates
// The letter proposed a “two-part shake-up” to business rates to “save the high street”
The chief executives of both Tesco and the Co-op have co-written an open letter that details a “two-part shake-up” to business rates to “save the high street”.
Published in the Daily Mail, the letter from Tesco’s Dave Lewis and the Co-op’s Steve Murrells urged the government to slash business rates for all retailers by 20 per cent.
In place, they proposed the introduction of a two per cent online sales levy on the sale of physical goods.
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Their open letter was published the same day as the Treasury committee report on business rates, which called on the government to explain why business rates have grown faster than inflation since 1990 and urged them fix the “broken” system.
Lewis and Murrels said their proposals would be “revenue-neutral”, would “stimulate investments” in the sector and would upgrade the “outdated” business rates system so that all retailers – both online and bricks-and-mortar – are “contributing a fair sum to local taxes”.
They also highlighted how 7500 stores shut around the UK last year, and pointed to further closures and job losses this year.
The duo then urged the government to “take urgent action” to help the retail industry.
They also argued that the current business rates regime made the UK “less competitive”, especially when there were efforts to “boost the UK’s position as an investment destination cracking the problem of business rates is essential”.