London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for a year-long extension of the business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Currently, rates are due to be reintroduced when the new financial year starts in April 2021, but Khan has warned there could be mass job losses in the capital without a further extension.

“Businesses across London continue to struggle from the impact of COVID-19,” he said. “If the business rates holiday comes to an end, I worry employers will have no choice but to make more people unemployed.

“Many large retail, leisure and hospitality businesses - accounting for thousands of Londoners’ jobs - are taking important decisions for the next financial year right now, so certainty over the business rates holiday is needed urgently.”

Echoing Khan’s concerns, the New West End Company, representing 600 businesses in London’s shopping district, said that reintroducing rates next April would be the “final blow” for many operators.

“The result will be more business closures and potentially 50,000 job losses, severely diminishing London’s appeal to visitors, investors and global talent,” said CEO Jace Tyrrell.

“We appreciate the support that the government has given to businesses so far but it is clear that the impact of COVID-19 is going to last much longer than originally anticipated.”