Seventy per cent of retailers believe another business rates rise would stunt job creation and result in less investment in new stores.
And 15% said an increase would force them to close shops, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed following a survey among its members.
Retailers face a £175m additional cost burden if rates rise as proposed next year. The increase would be on top of significant rates rises in 2011 and 2012, which piled pressure on retailers already hit hard by difficult trading conditions.
Retail Week and the BRC have joined forces to lobby Government to freeze business rates with the Fair Rates for Retail campaign.
At the time of writing, almost 1,000 people had pledged their support by signing the campaign petition (click here to sign).
Now the TaxPayers’ Alliance is also supporting the campaign to help retailers lobby their MPs on the issue with a website, www.freezebusinessrates.org, which enables people to send a campaign letter.
BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “MPs who care about their constituencies will recognise the importance of their high streets and the need to take action to prevent more shops falling empty. They will want to avoid the blow to investment and job creation that chief executives tell us would come from a third successive huge hike in business rates.
“I urge MPs of all parties to encourage the Chancellor to recognise that retail has already paid more than its fair share in recent years and to freeze business rates in 2013.”
TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair added: “Freezing business rates would be a great way of letting firms grow, prosper and create new jobs.
“High taxes are getting in the way of economic growth and a freeze is a reasonable proposal to help companies fighting their way out of the recession. Hopefully, direct pressure from their constituents will encourage MPs to back action for lower rates.”