Shops are being let for just £1 to retailers on some depressed high streets as landlords try and avoid paying business rates.

Retail landlords have become so desperate to avoid paying business rates on empty units that rents have dropped to nominal amounts according to the Financial Times.

Dixons, owner of Currys and PC World, told the newspaper that it was paying £1 on a handful of its stores.

Most are on high streets with soaring vacancy rates which are earmarked for closure when leases expire.

Card Factory also said that it had business rates-only deals on some of its stores. Business rates are typically charged at 40% of a shop’s rental value and have long been criticised by both retailers and landlords.

The British Retail Consortium has called on Chancellor George Osborne to “radically rethink” calculating April 2012 Uniform Business Rates on September’s RPI, which hit 5.6% this year – much higher than the expected 5%.