The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has made a series of recommendations to Chancellor George Osborne to deliver a retail-friendly Budget in March.

The recommendations include freeing-up decision-making within banks to ensure loan decisions can be made locally, deferring the planned increase in fuel duty scheduled for April, and ending inflation-busting increases in the National Minimum Wage.

The ACS also wants the Chancellor to reduce the cost of business rates by ending the link between rate rises and RPI measures of inflation, and to clamp down on duty fraud.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "Supporting local shops should be a key part of the Chancellor's plans for delivering economic growth. Trading within the heart of communities, the local shop sector can be an engine room of recovery and create new jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs.

"For this to happen the Chancellor must seek ways to reduce the burden of costs on these businesses and free up the finance and lending they need to make necessary investment."

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