Chancellor George Osbourne has been urged to stop the planned 5.6% increase in business rates.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has stepped up its campaign to cap the increase in rates, due to come into effect this April, claiming that it will destroy business growth.

A poll conducted by the ACS revealed that 42% of retailers plan to increase prices, reduce staff hours or delay investments as a direct result of the business rates increase.

The poll also revealed that 45% of retailers see action to reduce business rates as one of the top priorities for the chancellor, and that 37% believe that the rates increases are obstructing growth in their business.

The ACS has submitted the results of the survey to the chancellor, calling on him to cap the business rates increase at 2%, in line with government inflation targets.

“Retailers are operating in the real economy, serving every village, estate and high street in the country, and if they are saying that a 5.6% business rates increase will stunt job creation and thwart growth, the chancellor must listen,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “The action the chancellor takes on business rates will be a litmus test of the government’s commitment to removing barriers to growth for businesses.

“Investment in staff and low prices for consumers is vitally important to retailers seeking to remain competitive in tough trading environment and so any suggestion that they would have to act on these shows just how damaging the rates increase is likely to be.”