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Next boss calls for business rate changes

Tory peer Lord Wolfson says the system needs reform to help save high streets.

Business rates need to be reformed to help keep the high street alive, the chief executive of Next has said.

Lord Wolfson, who is also a Tory peer, said the commercial property tax needs to be updated to reflect major changes in retail triggered by online shopping.

He told ITV News: “The one thing that I think the Government must do is make rates more responsive to today’s reality.

I would have more frequent revaluations, up and downwards revaluations, so the rates are a fair reflection of the value of that property Lord Wolfson, Next chief executive

“There are lots of our shops where we pay higher rates than we do rents.”

The Tory peer insisted the system needed changes in tune with a market where people increasingly buy goods online.

He said: “I would have more frequent revaluations, up and downwards revaluations, so the rates are a fair reflection of the value of that property.”

Lord Wolfson added: “One interesting fact is that of the goods we sell online 50% of them are collected from a store and that’s what gives me absolute confidence that stores will be there in five or 10 years’ time.”

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