The managing director of Cumbria-based firm Lakeland Leather will meet with the Government next week to ask it to focus on the ailing high street.

Martin Foster said Whitehall was too distracted by Brexit to give serious attention to fixing the high street crisis.

He said: “We continue to see retailers close their doors for no other reason than the costs faced.

"Property rates continue to rise while footfall is in decline. High streets are suffering, we see a different retailer nearly every day falling into crisis.

“The Government needs to understand that certain towns need extra financial support to survive and thrive.

"If businesses can’t afford to trade on the high street, they will close.

"This forces communities to fragment, as shoppers are forced further afield to cities.”

He will be attending the meeting at the British Independent Retailers Association’s offices in Birmingham on May 20, with representatives from business associations including sole traders and larger retailers, and the Treasury Committee.

They will discuss the plans made after the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry concerning the health of the high street.

Mr Foster added: “I hope to bring about my concern on the subject from an independent retailer’s point of view to help shape the ongoing inquiry and encourage positive action. I fear this has taken a back seat amongst the Brexit turmoil and it matters now more than ever.

“The retail sector accounts for five per cent of the economy but pays 10 per cent of business taxation and 25 per cent of business rates. Clearly that’s wrong and needs correcting.”

Lakeland Leather has 15 stores across the country.