Job creation and investment will be decimated by next April’s business rates increase, a new survey has revealed.

According to a British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey, 70% of retailers said next April’s increase in business rates would force them to cut back on job creation and investment in new or existing stores. The survey also revealed that 15% of respondents said it may even result in them closing existing stores.

This is the third large-scale increase in business rates in a row, with a 4.6% rise in 2011 and a 5.6% jump in 2012. Although the 2.6% increase, due to come into effect April 2013, is less than the previous two years, it is estimated that it will cost the retail industry a further £175m.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson urged MPs to act on business rates. “MPs who care about their constituencies will recognise the importance of their high streets and the need to take action to prevent more shops falling empty,” he said. “They will want to avoid the blow to investment and job creation that chief executives tell us would come from a third successive huge hike in business rates.

“I urge MPs of all parties to encourage the Chancellor to recognise that retail has already paid more than its fair share in recent years and to freeze business rates in 2013.”

The BRC and the TaxPayers’ Alliance have launched a website with a pro forma letter that businesses can send to their local MP, encouraging them to call on the government to freeze business rates.