The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer outlining what local shops want from the Pre-Budget Report which is due to take place next month.

The recommendations included reconsidering the increase in National Insurance contributions, delaying VAT increases until February 1, 2010, freezing the national minimum wage and providing rates relief for small businesses.

“We believe the convenience sector will play a vital role in encouraging economic recovery and creating jobs,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “However, the government must not impose costs that will hamper growth and investment.

“The planned increase in National Insurance contributions is a bad idea. Even with growing pressure to increase revenue imposing a tax on jobs is not the answer.”

Lowman also called on the government to reverse the increase in alcohol and tobacco duty that was imposed when VAT was reduced. “The repeated hikes in duty at every budget are fuelling an illegal trade that not only takes sales away from legitimate and responsible businesses but is accelerating social and health problems in our most deprived communities,” he added.

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