29 December 2017 - Janet Bird
The government has been urged to reform business rates after new data revealed the staggering rate of shop closures across England and Wales.
Research by ratings agency Altus Group showed that 44 shops are closing their doors every week and inequalities in the business rates between physical and online retailers are believed to be partly to blame.
Retail experts say property and company taxes consistently penalise physical stores in favour of e-commerce, as they are based largely on rental values.
An online sales tax has been suggested by some as one way of redressing the balance, although the Altus Group stressed any revenue from such a tax should be ring-fenced and used to provide additional tax relief for physical retailers, rather than simply being regarded as additional income by the government.