The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling on the government to extend business rate discount for small businesses.

The latest business rate relief figures show that local authorities granted £1.06bn in relief under the Small Business Rate Relief scheme in 2014-15, up 7.7% on the year before. Meanwhile the amount of relief granted to empty premises fell 4.2% to £947m.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Business rates are one of the most significant costs that small businesses face, which is why small business rate relief is such an important and valuable policy. The small business rate relief scheme needs to be renewed in 2016 alongside further support to allow local authorities to offer more effective discretionary rate relief schemes.”

The ACS’ submission to the Autumn Financial Statement has called for wide reforms of business rates, including making some of the smallest businesses ineligible for rates.

“Supporting small businesses through business rates discounts is an essential part of encouraging investment in our sector, but it must be coupled with meaningful reform to a system that unfairly penalises many local shops. We expect more in the coming Autumn Financial Statement next week,” added Lowman.