SIR Tom Hunter has said he would back a second Brexit referendum and joined BBC Dragons’ Den star and fellow entrepreneur Theo Paphitis in calling for sweeping changes to the UK taxation system.

The two businessmen made the comments after an event at the Scottish EDGE awards in Edinburgh, with both also supporting an overhaul of the way businesses behind online shopping and store shopping are taxed.

Sir Tom, who founded Sports Division and is one of the country’s richest entrepreneurs, said: “I did say back at the time before that we didn’t have enough facts, and so therefore in an ideal world I would reckon there should be a confirmatory referendum to say ‘right we know more now, is that what you wanted, Britain, now that you know a few more facts and a few half-truths have been exposed I suppose’.

“Are we going to get that? I don’t think we are.

“But in an ideal world, I echo Theo’s point if it’s like ‘just get a bad deal done’ it doesn’t sound like a great strategy to me.”

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Mr Paphitis, the retail mogul behind Ryman, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue, said that “the system of raising revenue is structurally unsound because it has fallen behind the technological changes of the world”.

He said: “The structural issues with our retail cannot be fixed unless there is a structural change in the way taxation works.

“You could get rid of business rates altogether if you like and say [tax] every transaction, whether it’s online, offline, physical or otherwise.”

Sir Tom said: “The way we shop has changed. The way we buy has changed, and therefore the way we collect the tax on those sales needs to change.”

He continued: “I think it comes back to a taxation system, and one party saying we are going to put more burden on the rich, fair enough, but for me it is all about the tax take, not the tax rate, so if we had a policy saying we actually want to encourage wealth creators and we are going to make it a reasonable level of tax, the amount you would raise in tax would go up and that would be better for the country.

He added: “The way to get more tax is actually to have more billionaires, not less of them and get them to pay a reasonable tax.

“If we actually alienate the wealth creators, capital is portable, and it will leave.”

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Mr Paphitis, who described how he had difficulty at school having dyslexia, said: “The way we are collecting tax, we have the retail cake and now we have the online retail cake, we are taxing one cake that is getting smaller and not taxing the other cake.

“So there will be structural issues and damage done. The reality is we have to change the way tax is collected.

“The biggest job this government has got to do when it lets in is look at taxation as a whole.”

Journalists also heard that businesses with high growth potential from across Scotland have benefited to the tune of around £1 million after emerging as winners at this year’s awards, and £15m over 15 years.

The two biggest winners were medical technology firm Nebu-Flow and industry services company Paragon Inspection Services which took home £125,000 each as winners of the Higgs EDGE award for science, technology and engineering focused businesses.

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University of Glasgow spin-out Nebu-Flow, founded by Elijah Nazarzadeh and Jon Cooper, has created a novel aerosol formation technology for the efficient respiratory delivery of hard-to-nebulise drugs.

David Phin founded Dundee-based Paragon Inspection Solutions which has developed a unique patented inspection system, Tru-Fit. It enables fast, accurate inspection of small-bore tubing systems used in industry without any shutdown of plant.

Eighteen businesses took part in the Scottish EDGE finals at the Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre at Gogarburn, with many more pitching in semi-finals and the Young EDGE and Wildcard EDGE competitions.

Mr Paphitis, whose business empire spans the high street, property, finance and consumer goods, took part in a conversation with Sir Tom, whose Hunter Foundation is one of the key supporters of Scottish EDGE along with RBS and the Scottish Government.