Over 100 of the UK’s biggest enterprises have called for business rates to be overhauled, addressing, in an open letter, what they consider to be a “critical problem” with the way companies are taxed.

The letter, published in the Telegraph on Tuesday, was signed by Tesco, Marks and Spencer and General Motors, amongst other huge corporations, and outlines the view that business rates are “no longer fit for purpose for the 21st Century” and must be adjusted in order to “unleash investment.”

The letter was mainly signed by retailers but is also backed by bookmakers, gyms, manufacturers and property companies.

Business rates bring in around £25 billion each year but, the letter says, this has grown out of kilter with “economic realities” and is hindering growth and investment.

The letter calls for all political parties to commit to a “fundamental reform” of the tax when forming their political manifestos for the next General Election.

It adds:

“A modern, sustainable and transparent system would unleash investment that could bring skilled and entry level jobs and new and expanded businesses into our local communities. Those who seek a competitive tax regime as a draw for investment and jobs should apply that logic to business rates.

“It is no longer an option to say that reform is too difficult or complicated and we call on all political parties to commit to fundamental reform in their manifestos for the next General Election.”

Helen Dickinson, director-general of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“Today’s open letter proposes that the political parties should make a commitment to look at deeper reform of business rates if they form the next government after the election.”