The chancellor has announced a series of business rate reforms including raising the rate relief threshold from £6,000 to £15,000.

In today’s budget announcement, George Osborne also said future business rate increases would be based on CPI rather than RPI, leading to more accurate rates bills for retailers.

“A typical corner shop in Barnstaple will pay no business rates,” he said.

Osborne estimated that half of small businesses would see rates halved or abolished.

Welcoming the announcement, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “The increased small business rate relief threshold will be a welcome measure for thousands of local shops who are facing rising costs in other areas of their business.

“This measure will also significantly reduce the burden on the VOA, as more stores are taken out of paying rates altogether.

“We welcome the move from RPI to CPI for annual business rate increases but urge the chancellor to cap rates increases in line with the government’s 2% inflation target”.

In addition, corporation tax will be cut from 20% to 17% from April 2020, while duty on beer, cider and whisky will be frozen. Tobacco duty will rise by 2% above inflation, but fuel duty will be frozen for the sixth successive year.

Commenting on the freeze on whisky duty, Andrew Cowan, managing director Diageo Great Britain said: “Scotch, as a home grown industry, flies the flag for the UK abroad and the alcohol industry as a whole generates billions for the UK economy.

”This year’s freeze on beer and spirits will help to continue this. We have already seen the positive impact that last year’s duty cut had on industries such as Scotch whisky  and so tonight, people across the nation will once again raise a toast to the chancellor.”