John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield has dismissed the idea of an ‘Amazon tax’ on online retailers.
Mayfield instead maintained that traditional retailers must adapt more quickly, The Daily Telegraph reported.
However, Mayfield criticised retailers enforcing employment practices that curb their tax bills and said such behaviour was an issue of both “competition and morality”.
His comments came after chancellor Philip Hammond raised the possibility of introducing sales-based taxes on online businesses following the demise of House of Fraser.
Many retailers believe they bear an unfair tax burden because of the weight of business rates levied on bricks-and-mortar premises.
He warned that if the Government does not reform business rates it will have contributed to the decline of high streets across the UK, The Times reported.
He said: “A decision not to reform business rates by the Government will be a statement of policy.
“It will be a deliberate decision not to support the retail industry. We believe businesses should pay taxes, as it is the responsible thing to do, but should the government be laying a heavier burden on a shrinking industry?”