Commercial Property Advisors (CPA) is disappointed that the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Britain's leading lobbyist for the high street, is less than welcoming to proposals for an online sales tax.
In a recent statement by the BRC, CPA believes the consortium has misleadingly related the effects of the tax solely to those retailers with both an inline and high street presence; it claims that these hybrid businesses regarded the internet as a lifeline during the worst weeks of the pandemic.
CPA argues that this is a partial view at best,which ignores the desperate straits in which the high street now finds itself. More importantly, it wilfully disregards those businesses which trade solely online, parasitically undermining sterling efforts by physical stores to prepare for re-opening , in an environment fraught with uncertainty.
CPA is pleased to note that Dave Lewis, CEO of Tesco (a firm with an online presence!) supports a proposed online sales tax, revenue from which (an estimated £1.5bn per annum) could alone reduce business rates by 20%.
CPA, specialists in winning business rates reductions, welcomes this approach, adding that online tax revenue should also finance physical modernisation of the high street, following competitive bids for funding. To add spice to the process, local boards of commerce could adjudicate, and award prestigious plaques to successful businesses.
CPA believes that current trends, left unhindered, spell death to traditional shopping, and herald an impersonal , uncompetitive world of electronic dinosaurs battling it out , to dominate a soul-less virtual market, where monopolies have snuffed out innovation, and the high street is stripped of all character.
BRC's faux-concern for businesses with a foot in the online and physical camps, ignores the crisis in retailing generally,and eases the birth of a ruthless new world of survival of the wealthiest, where globalised commerce has snuffed out any sparks of originality.