Trade associations have been united in their criticism of what is likely to be chancellor Gordon Brown's final Budget.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) said duty rises on wine, beer, cigarettes and fuel were all bad news for retailers. It also branded the increase in tax for small companies as unfair, as large corporations received a cut.
The Scottish Grocers' Federation also slammed the decision to increase small business tax by 3p. And the Rural Shops Alliance (RSA) was quick to add its voice to those who believed the government should have recognised the important role independent rural retailers play in the economy.
ACS public affairs manager Shane Brennan said: "This budget has been designed to please many with an income tax cut and a business corporation tax cut, although we are concerned that the chancellor has increased the business tax rate for small businesses. It is, however, the depressingly familiar increases in tobacco and alcohol duty that concern us most."
RSA chief executive Sean Carter added: "The new level of duty on tobacco and alcohol products will further the illegal trade in smuggled goods. The increase in corporation tax on small companies is further bad news. When is the government going to recognise the essential role of independent rural retailers?"

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