ROSSENDALE MP Jake Berry is lobbying for an extension of the business rate holiday to support high streets.

Spearheaded by Berry, he and forty-four other Conservative MPs from the Northern Research Group (NRG) are putting pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support high streets by permanently reducing business rates for retailers.

Ahead of the Budget on Wednesday the MPs have said there is a need for “levelling the playing field between bricks and mortar and online retail”.

In a letter to the Chancellor, the MPs said: "With many of our town centres hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, now is the time for a bold move to reduce business rates nationally.

“We need to make sure that once people can go shopping again, they have high streets to go back to.”

The MPs have also called for an extension of the business rates holiday to be followed by “fundamental reform” after the coronavirus pandemic.

They are demanding that business rates are reduced from about 50% of market rent to around 35% in order to help achieve this.

This cames after ahead of the Budget, Mr Sunak announced that pubs, restaurants, shops and other businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic will be boosted by a £5 billion "restart grant" scheme to help them reopen as the lockdown is eased.

Separate from the Budget, Mr Sunak is considering targeting online retail giants like Amazon with a sales tax in a move that could go some way towards levelling the playing field as part of the business rates review expected later in the year.