The British Retail Consortium has hit out at the Government for leaving retailers in the dark over the funding of the £16 billion Crossrail train service running across London, which was given the green light last week.

All businesses in Greater London with a rateable value of at least£50,000 could be asked to pay an additional business rates supplement of 2p in the pound from April 2010 if the bill – which will appear in the next session of parliament – goes through.

BRC policy executive Tom Ironside said: “We believe that the use of business rate supplements are an unsatisfactory way to secure business contributions for large-scale infrastructure projects such as Crossrail. Independent research carried out by Oxford Economics shows that the burden falling on retailers when paying for Crossrail is likely to be significantly out of step with the benefits that the scheme would bring.”

A spokesman for the John Lewis Partnership said it believes the Crossrail project will deliver considerable benefits to London and business needs to play its part in helping deliver it.

But he added: “Mechanisms to raise revenue from the private sector must be proportionate and should reflect the relative benefits of the scheme.”

Gerald Eve head of rating Jerry Schurder pointed out that if anyone benefits it will be the landlords, because their property values will go up and it is “unfair” that tenants will pay the bill.