Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, formerly known as Sports Direct, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to push for an “urgent fundamental review” into business rates.

The letter, signed by chief financial officer Chris Wootton, said the current business rates system results in many stores “paying the incorrect amount”, with some stores paying over the odds while others are “not paying as much as they should”.

The letter said the business rates relief that will be offered to small businesses as referenced in the Queen’s Speech last year, while welcome, “does not address the dire straits many of the medium and large stores on our high streets find themselves in”.

“We would note that it is the medium and large stores that drive footfall on to our high streets, which inherently benefits the smaller stores. When the key anchor stores fall away the high streets become desolate and smaller stores close as well. Improved rates relief or not, without footfall these smaller stores cannot survive,” the letter adds.

Frasers Group recommended a single approach to transitional relief regardless of a retail property’s size, and one that results “in the correct rates bill being reached at the end of the transitional period”.

The retailer also called for “a moratorium of two to three years on increases in rateable values based on investment in stores”, arguing that the current system penalises store investment by leading to increased rateable values and rates bills.

Frasers Group said that, without these changes “we will no doubt, unfortunately, see further large retail failures in the new year, and as we have noted publicly we can no longer sustain our current portfolio of House of Frasers and have begun close-down procedures in some cases”.

Wootton stressed the “urgency” of the suggested review, adding that if Frasers Group, like other retailers, “can see a light at the end of the tunnel it cold allow us to subsidise loss-making stores until the correction in rateable values comes into effect”.