The BRC’s three potential models to replace the much-maligned business rates system raise far more questions than they answer. Beyond the novelty of the idea of a new energy tax, this and its other suggestions, as the Consortium admits, all come with major drawbacks attached - and are likely to have just as many glitches and create just as many losers as the current system.

“The BRC’s argument for change is much less defined than it was a year ago”

Ian Quinn, chief reporter

The BRC’s argument for change appears to be much less defined that it was a year ago. Then, the purpose of reviewing business rates was all about saving Britain’s high streets (which now seem to be showing signs of recovery despite the tax burden) and preventing pure-play online retailers from having an advantage (an aim dropped, not least because most big retailers have feet in both camps).

Its latest ideas - the other two being a corporation tax-based model and a system based on employee numbers - come across as undercooked. It is hard to tell if a green tax, in particular, is blue-sky thinking or pie in the sky. Worse, they will be seen as a cynical shifting of the goalposts in favour of big retailers.