Retailers have called for landlords to contribute to Business Improvement Districts, a key plank of Retail Week manifesto for the High Street.

Speaking at the Retail Week Conference, Lloyds Pharmacy trading director Steve Gray said landlords should contribute to BIDs.

Blue Inc managing director Steven Cohen added: “This contribution from landlords is a preferable way of improving the area rather than a tax to burden the retailer.”

New West End Company chairman Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, said: “There is an amendment in the BRS bill which makes it possible to hold a property ballot. Arguably, it’s not a good time to ask people to put their hands in their pockets, but it works in the US and in the West End.

Cohen said that rising business rates are becoming a major issue for retailers, but that landlords are compensating by being more flexible in their terms. He said: “Landlords are being flexible with rent bills to deal with these rate costs.”

Jonas added some good news for retailers that there has been a 20% reduction in buses and taxis going up and down Oxford Street.

She said: “The aim is to get a 40% reduction in buses and taxis, by reducing the off-peak bus services between 10am and 4.30pm. Shoppers mostly come by tube. Then one or two buses going up and down Oxford Street on a sprinted service would be ideal.”