Helen Dickinson

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson has promised the body will “hold the government’s feet to the fire” over its promise to make rates more affordable.

She said the current “broken” system, which meant retailers paid a disproportionate slice of the rates bill, was continuing to impact on vulnerable communities up and down the country.

With the September Retail Price Index expected to be at least 4%, the BRC has warned retailers are “staring down the barrel” at a £280m rates rise in April.

Speaking at the BRC’s annual retail industry dinner in London, Dickinson said: “There may be little appetite in government for change. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to change the way the world works

Over the last four years we’ve secured around £2bn of gains for the industry. But it’s not enough - every single day we continue to make the case. We will hold the government’s feet to the fire, so that they deliver on their manifesto promise to put the rates system on a more sustainable footing, and make sure it’s fit for the 21st century.”