Sainsbury’s chief financial officer John Rogers is leading the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) committee to find a fair alternative to the current business rates system.
Rogers will chair a member sponsor group made up of top tax and finance specialists from high street and online retailers.
The committee will work with accountancy firm EY to develop a new tax system which helps businesses grow and has an “acceptable distributional impact” but also does not “materially reduce revenues” for the Treasury, according to The Telegraph.
Rogers said: “Reforming business rates is a critical factor in achieving solid and stable growth across the entire retail sector in the future. Our research will demonstrate the continued risk of allowing the existing system to stagger on, whilst showing how a reformed system can deliver jobs and regeneration in the future.”
The BRC will present its conclusions in the new year, which it hopes will offer the Treasury a solid alternative to the current business rates system, which retailers are struggling to afford in the difficult economic environment.
Retailers have had to absorb business rates rises of more than £500m in the past three years and they are braced for another £242m rise in April next year.
BRC chairman and chief executive of Kingfisher Ian Cheshire said: “The Government could unlock a new wave of investment from retailers and support the economic recovery if it indicated that reform will be pursued.
“A new system that does not punish retailers for keeping shops open would be good for all of us and bring opportunities to people across the UK.”
Businesses have increased pressure on Chancellor George Osborne in the past two weeks ahead of the Autumn Statement on December 5.