Pressure is mounting on the Government to ease the burden of business rates following the collapse of high street retailers Blockbuster, Comet, HMV and Jessops in recent weeks.

Labour shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna called for a “sector-specific industrial strategy to grow retail”.

The all-party Commons Business Select Committee is to launch an inquiry into Government support for retail, which will include the impact of business rates.

Retail Week and the BRC are lobbying the Government in the joint Fair Rates for Retail campaign to freeze business rates. The planned rise in April will add £175m to the £500m rates increase retailers have paid over the past two years.

BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: “My message to the Chancellor is – retailers are already paying £19bn a year via the four main business taxes. It’s not too late to cancel that rates increase.”

The Government said it had no plans to freeze business rates.