Published: 21st Feb 2019

Urgent action is required to prevent thriving high streets becoming ghost towns, according to a leading group of MPs. A report published today by the housing, communities and local government parliamentary select committee warns the outlook for high streets and town centres will become ‘increasingly bleak’ unless the government reforms the business rates and planning systems. In particular, it calls for changes to the business rates systems for high street and online retailers. According to the committee, Amazon’s business rates last year amounted to around 0.7% of their UK turnover, while high street retailers pay between 1.5% and 6.5%. In order to create a ‘level playing field’, it recommends the introduction of an online sales tax and a reduction in business rates for high street retailers. It also suggests that any high street retailer who invests in improving its property be given a 12-month holiday from paying business rates. The … (To read the full article, subscribe below)