Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis has blamed the burden of business rates for the collapse of some retailers.

The heavy cost of business rates has played a “large part” in some business failures and the system has resulted in an “uneven playing field”, he told the BBC.

Lewis said: “Are we allowing it to stay competitive, or are we by stealth lowering corporation tax and increasing business rates to a place which is creating an uneven playing field and forcing people to think about how it is they avoid that cost and find other routes to the market?”

Business rates is the biggest tax paid by Tesco, totalling about £700m a year.

Lewis maintained: “You need a level playing field… between an online digital world and a traditional retail store base model like the one we have.”

He was also critical of the Government for a lack of recognition of retail in its industrial strategy.

Lewis’s comments on business rates followed similar views expressed last year by Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe.

Coupe urged “fundamental reforms” of the “archaic” business rates system, which fails to reflect the rise of online retailers that pay much lower rates.

Tesco’s Lewis voices business rates concerns