The Treasury Committee has launched a fresh inquiry into the much-maligned business rates amid warnings that a further 100,000 shops will close this year.

The committee will examine if the current system is working and will explore whether alternative policies, such as the proposed digital services tax or a land-value-based tax, could level the playing field between bricks-and-mortar retailers and online players.

Chair of the Treasury Committee, Nicky Morgan MP, said: “Many high street businesses are struggling to remain competitive. It has been estimated that 10,000 shops will close this year. Unless action is taken, closures could continue and job losses may soar.

“Business rates can represent a substantial financial burden on the high street. The Treasury Committee is therefore launching an inquiry today into the effectiveness and impact of these rates on business.

“At the end of the inquiry, we’ll make a series of recommendations to Government on the fairness and effectiveness of the current system, and how it could be improved.”