The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has vowed to keep campaigning for the creation of effective business rate relief schemes in the face of new government figures which claim a trebling of small business rate relief since the general election.
According to the figures, rate relief in England has risen from £333m in 2009-10 and £507m in 2010-11, to £784 million in 2011-12 and now £900 million in 2012-13.
The government said it had also doubled small business rate relief from October 2010 until April 2014, to help an estimated half a million more small firms and shops.
Small firms are receiving 100% rate relief on properties up to £6,000 rateable value, and a tapered rate relief from £6,000 to £12,000.
The figures showed that the government’s policy of cutting taxes and red tape for small firms supported local traders, secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles said.
However, ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan was not convinced.
“Unfortunately existing schemes are too restrictive and too many deserving convenience store don’t qualify. Spiralling rates bills are slowing down investment, growth and job creation across the country,” he said.
“Government must go much further than existing inadequate schemes and we will continue to campaign for rate relief schemes that make a real difference,” he added.
Earlier this year it was revealed that only a handful of local authorities had taken advantage of new powers to create bespoke business rate discount schemes in their areas.
According to Local Government Chronicle figures published back in May, just 18 of the 326 eligible councils had introduced discretionary rate relief schemes meaning 95%had rejected the new powers which were introduced under the Localism Act.