Business rates rises could kill off nearly 600 retail businesses resulting in 19,300 redundancies by 2012, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Its figures show that 582 retailers could collapses by 2011 due to a 30 per cent hike in charges, arising from the 5 per cent rise in business rates that is now due in full by 2010/11, as well as last year’s loss of empty property relief and business rates supplements. All the charges could add £1.6bn to the £5.45bn retailers paid in 2007/08, meaning bills could rise to up to £7bn by 2010/11.

The 19,3000 job losses, which are in addition to those related to other causes, could cost the Government £50m in unemployment benefits payments, according to the BRC.

It also calculated that in 2011 Government would lose nearly £500m in taxes as a result.

The BRC said it welcomed Alistair Darling’s decision to allow retailers to postpone part of this April’s 5 per cent annual increase in business rates, but pointed out that the bills have still to be met in full over the next two years.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “Our report reveals the scale of the potential damage to jobs, businesses and the wider economy from these business rates increases.

“The irony is a third of what the Chancellor gains in extra business rates will be lost to him as a reduced retail sector delivers lower amounts of other taxes and the benefits bill rises. Alistair Darling must use his Budget to announce an immediate freeze on all new business rate burdens and the reinstatement of empty property rates relief.”