Industry body the BRC has written to Prime Minister David Cameron asking for a temporary suspension of business rates for riot-hit retailers and other measures to support traders disrupted by this week’s disorder.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson also called for a National Insurance holiday for retailers in premises affected by the mayhem.

He said that the two initiatives could make a big difference to embattled retailers for whom cash flow will be critical.

“As we emerge from the crisis it is essential that the Government gives a clear signal of support to the affected communities and the retailers at their heart,” Robertson said.“

The BRC also asked for “expediency” in the planning process to enable speedy repair and  rebuilding of properties, and an extension of the period for notification of compensation under the Riot Damages Act from 14 to 42 days. The latter  would be especially helpful for small retailers likely to be uninsured or under-insured, the organisation maintained.

Robertson said: “We stand ready to work with the Government on these matters, as well as the important work that will emerge from the Portas Review, in order to make Britain’s high streets great places for retail once more.”