The boss of a Lake District retailer has called for the Government to “wake up” after the publication of a report which says urgent action must be taken to stop some high streets and town centres disappearing altogether.

The High Streets and Town Centres in 2030 report, which was released last week, is the result of a parliamentary inquiry select committee which gave evidence to a cross-party panel of MPs in December.

It has been put together in response to the increasing pressures felt by retailers on Britain's high streets.

The report concludes local council intervention must be accompanied by action from central Government, working together with retailers and landlords.

It also highlights that increased central Government funding is a priority.

Martin Foster, managing director of Cumbrian retailer Lakeland Leather, who represented independent retailers at the inquiry said: “It is vital that the Government wake-up and address the issues now.

“I am pleased that the MPs listened but I am concerned over the pace at which things will move forward.

"We had the Mary Portas review in 2011, the Bill Grimsey review in 2013, Sir John Timpson’s review in 2018 and now the results of this latest review.

“In that time retail jobs are being lost at the rate of 70,000 a year

"How many more reports does the Government need before it takes action?

"How many more shops need to close and how many more high streets will fade away before the issues are tackled?”

The report acknowledged that high street retailers are paying more than their fair share of tax, while online retailers are not paying enough.

Mr Foster said Lakeland Leather pays property rates which equate to five per cent of sales, seven times more than Amazon, which pays a rate of just 0.7 per cent of sales.

The report recommends the Government addresses the administrative burden of business rates.

It suggests the proposal submitted by the British Independent Retailers Association, which advocated the use of allowances, similar to income tax allowances, should be explored further.

The report further highlights the Government should urgently assess the idea of an online sales tax and ‘green taxes’ on web deliveries and packaging.

“It’s vital we re-address the overall tax cost not just shuffle it between retailer channels," said Martin.

"The retail sector accounts for five per cent of the economy but pays 10 per cent of business taxation and 25 per cent of business rates.

"Clearly that’s wrong and needs correcting.”

Lakeland Leather has 15 stores across the country including Ambleside, Bowness, Kendal, Keswick and Carlisle.

Martin said he is focusing on improving customer experience in the stores with the Your Store: Your Community campaign for 2019.

This will involve the roll out of personal shopping, in-store fashion shows and micro influencer events.

He said: “Retailers are optimists and will find a way to help save our high streets, but it’s not a battle we’ll win without some help.”