High street travel agents could be among the companies taxed on energy usage under new proposals to reform the business rates system.

The British Retail Consortium today published a report calling for the current system of charges on commercial properties to be scrapped and replaced with a new focus on energy use and contributions to the economy through corporation tax and employment.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the BRC had described the current system, where the tax is calculated according to a property’s rateable value, as “outmoded” and “anachronistic”.

The subject of business rates has long been a bone of contention for high street retailers in particular, who claim that the basis of the rates and high levels discourage retail expansion.

The Government has postponed a regular revaluation of the system from next year to 2017.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “We have a once in a generation chance to fundamentally change the business rates system and the time is right to think creatively and in the best long-term economic interests of the UK.”