The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is seeking evidence from retailers to help its case to the Chancellor for a one-off reduction on the increase in business rates.

From April 2012 business rates will be set at 5.6%, based on inflation figures (RPI) from the previous September. With RPI recorded at unusually high levels, retailers will be faced with a significantly increased rates bill despite forecasts suggesting inflation will have fallen by the time rates are affected, according to the ACS.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “A rates increase of this scale is simply not affordable at a time of such low growth and many cost pressures being faced by retailers. We will be asking the Chancellor to announce in his autumn statement a one-off dispensation to apply a lower rates increase in these exceptional circumstances.

“To make a strong case, we need evidence from retailers, and we are asking retailers to contact us telling us in confidence their 2011 rates bill. This can be modelled to show the impact on the local shops.”

The ACS is also seeking information on how this rates rise would affect businesses’ investment decisions, staff employed, and prices, he added.

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