PM Boris Johnson should slap a windfall tax on profitable online companies - and cancel business rates for a year, a York business leader says.

Phil Pinder of the York Retail Forum says the decision to delay 'Freedom Day' - the final lifting of lockdown restrictions - by four weeks while not pushing back the date for business rates to resume will be a huge blow to high street and city centre businesses.

They will find themselves paying business rates again from July 1 while still unable to operate at full capacity, he said.

Even if the PM decided today to delay business rates again, it would still cause chaos, Mr Pinder said - because it would take weeks to adapt and set up the necessary forms.

Mr Pinder said the situation was a 'nightmare' for businesses such as nightclubs, which are still not allowed to open but will be paying rates from the start of next month.

And even small high street retailers will be affected, Mr Pinder said.

Yes, many had had a good half term. But until lockdown restrictions were fully lifted - signalling the government's confidence that we were on top of the pandemic - a 'significant number' of customers would still be too nervous to return, he said.

"Might we find ourselves in the autumn or winter having still only 70 or 80 per cent of our business?," he said. "When is the end?"

Mr Pinder questioned the need to delay the lifting of lockdown.

"Why are we having this lockdown?" he asked. "To protect the NHS? Everybody over the age of 23 or 24 is now able to get the jab. I'm 43 and I've had both jabs - everybody over the age of 40 has been able to. We were told that people under 40 were at less risk. It is very confusing."

The retail forum boss said that even before the pandemic, high streets had been struggling in the face of competition from online retailers who didn't pay business rates.

Covid and the resultant lockdowns had come as a huge further blow.

Buy he said there was one thing the PM could do to ease the burden on high street business.

"If I were the Prime Minister, I would introduce a windfall tax on profitable online businesses - and cancel business rates for a year!" he said.