Charity and betting shops 'will be all that's left' on Britain's high streets will be overhauled, says Westminster council boss
City & Finance Reporter for the Daily Mail
Britain's high streets will be dominated by charity shops and betting shops unless business rates are overhauled, a senior Tory councillor has warned.
With just about two weeks to go until the Budget, Philip Hammond was urged to create a 'level playing field' for regular shops as they face an onslaught from online giants.
The leader of Westminster City Council calls for a 1 per cent turnover tax on tech giants such as Amazon to alleviate the pain.
The Leader of Westminster City Council calls for Britain's High Streets where only betting and charity shops are flourishing
Hammond told the Tory party conference last month he could introduce a digital services tax on web gants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.
The Mail has been called for a reform of business as part of our Save Our High Streets campaign amid a crisis gripping the sector.
Around 50,000 retail jobs have already lost this year, and about 61,000 stores have shut down in the past five years.
Major retailers such as Poundworld, Toys R Us and Maplin have gone bust while House of Fraser was saved from collapse by Sports Direct.
Counselor Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster City Council, said: "I absolutely support the Mail's campaign. Westminster City Council has already called a per cent turnover tax on tech titans.
"I would ask the Treasury: do we want to continue the decline?"
Business rates are based on the estimated value of a retailer's property. Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, said: "It's a real challenge, because it does not matter how badly you're doing, the cost is not going down."
Edward Woodall, head of policy at the Association of Convenience Stores, said the tax discourages investment.
If a shopkeeper refurbishes their store, or installs new equipment, it makes the property more valuable, so rates go up. He said: 'The system does not really incentivise investment.'