The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has criticised the government for pressing ahead with legislation that will give councils the power to levy additional rates on businesses. ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Business rates supplements are a bad idea and are being introduced at the worst possible time for retailers, threatening to make a bad situation worse.” The Bill, which gives councils the power to levy an additional 2p in the pound to support improvements to infrastructure, was introduced to Parliament on January 12.

Lowman said the concept was flawed because it assumed that investments would automatically benefit businesses. “The reality is that in many places businesses will be forced to fund projects that have no benefit to them,” he said. ACS wants the scheme postponed until economic conditions improve, and has also called for a halt of the planned 5% business rates increase in April.