Tweaks by successive governments have failed to cut to the heart of the problem, the growth of online retail

Amazing, isn’t it? All those supermarkets, it turns out, had been pondering a U-turn on business rates relief for simply ages. Morrisons says it had been on the case “for some time”. The board of Sainsbury’s had deliberated “since the announcement of a second national lockdown in England”, so more than a month ago. If only they’d given us a clue, instead of banging on about the extra costs involved in “feeding the nation” during a pandemic.

Related: £1.8bn-plus in Covid rates relief to be handed back as B&M joins list

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