Almost 1,500 letters have been sent to MPs urging them to ease the burden on retailers by freezing business rates.

Retailers and supporters have sent 1,485 letters to MPs since a dedicated website, part of Retail Week and the British Retail Consortium’s Fair Rates for Retail campaign, went live last week.

MPs have been asked to support a rates freeze – a rise next April would add a £175m cost burden to retail. The letters also call for rates calculations to be based on the Consumer Prices Index rather than the Retail Prices Index. Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce also called for a rates freeze in a letter to the Chancellor.

Separately, on Tuesday, the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which contains proposals to defer the rates revaluation by two years to 2017, had its committee hearing in Whitehall.

The British Council of Shopping Centres dubbed Valuation Office Agency evidence relating to the deferral “shifty”. Director of policy and public affairs Ed Cooke said: “The Government says retailers will benefit but I’m yet to hear one business which supports the evidence.”