Redbridge Council’s leader has called for a reform of “grossly unfair” business rates to support the high street.

At the borough’s full council meeting, Labour councillors urged the Government to overhaul business rates and “shift the burden” onto online retail giants such as Amazon.

Councillors resolved to give local communities more control over the strategic direction of their high streets and take a more proactive role to stop shops staying empty for long periods.

A report on the health of high streets in the borough will also now be produced annually, councillors agreed.

Read more: Five in hospital including driver after bus crashes into building - updates

Leader Cllr Jas Athwal called business rates “grossly unfair” and said he will write to the government to ask for them to be reformed into a system that is “fit for purpose”.

Cabinet member for stronger communities Cllr John Howard, who introduced the motion, added: “Enormous companies like Amazon can base themselves in tax havens and paying nothing.

“That impacts on the community, on jobs, on the council and on local people.

“The Government should urgently review the tax system for business rates and end the current one.”

Cllr Sadiq Kothia added: “We desperately need our local shops to survive.

“Business rates were brought in as same time as that infamous poll tax in the 80s, especially unfair on retail outlets like mine, a family business which pays an incredible £30,000 each year.”

Cllr Linda Hugget, Conservative leader, argued that the Conservative government has spent “millions of pounds on grants for our high streets and shopping centres”, although her group nonetheless voted in support of the motion.