The British Retail Consortium has said Conservative Party proposals on business rates must go further, after the Tories promised to extend the retail discount on business rates.

In a bid to court businesses and retailers, the Conservative Party have said that if it won a majority and the upcoming election it would “extend the retail discount on business rates to 50% next year” for businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

The party said this would “increase the retail discount from 33% to 50% in 2020/2021” and would effectively be a £280m tax cut for small businesses.

However, in a statement, the BRC said extending the discount to small businesses did not go far enough to save the UK’s suffering high streets and retailers.

Director of business and regulation at the BRC Tom Ironside said: “While we welcome the extension of temporary support for small businesses, these measures need to go much further if they are to enable the successful reinvention of our high streets, particularly as the majority of the UK’s 3 million retail workers are employed in businesses that will not benefit from today’s announcement.”

Ironside and the BRC said instead it was “essential” the next government: “scraps ‘downwards transition’, which “costs retailers £1.3bn; freezes next year’s rates increase; and introduces an improvement relief to encourage investment in our high streets. These are vital first steps to support an industry that accounts for 5% of the economy yet pays 25% of all business rates”.

The rebuke comes after Boris Johnson was quoted on the campaign trail in Coventry on Wednesday saying the Conservative Party “understands wealth creation and the need to support family business and cut business rates”.

Johnson also said: “Napoleon said we were a nation of shopkeepers and he was right by the way, there have been more businesses created in this country since 2010 than by France and Germany combined.”

The Labour party have yet to put forward concrete business rates proposals, but have today unveiled plans to install free broadband in every business and home by 2030 if it wins the next election.