BUSINESS rates should be abolished so retailers like Beales are on a more level playing field with the online giants, it is claimed.

The chairman of Bournemouth Town Centre BID (Business Improvement District), Martin Davies, said of Beales’ move to appoint administrators: “It’s not really surprising and is an indication of the stresses that retailers and the high street are facing at the moment.

“2019 was the worst year on record for retailers, so it’s been reported, and unless something changes there’s a risk that 2020 will potentially be worse and we will see more failures and difficulties.

“I think one of the fundamental things that needs very urgent reform at national and local level is national non-domestic rates (NNDR).

"Given the rise of internet businesses in all areas of the economy, basing a substantial element of taxation on physical occupation of property is an outdated concept.

"I think ultimately for the good of the business community as a whole, what we need to see is the absolute abolition of NNDR, and a change to the rates of corporation tax so that taxes are paid on profit rather than location.

“As I understand it, Beales is in a restructuring administration rather than a corporate failure and hopefully the company will come out the other side stronger and better, because they are a major player in Bournemouth and Poole and play a major part in supporting the high street economy of the town.”