Retailers and trade bodies have criticised the government's lack of support for small shops in this year's Budget, particularly its failure to reverse planned business rate rises.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said that the rates revaluation, planned for next year, could be devastating. "The revaluation of commercial property is likely to bring dramatic increases of on average 20% in business rates for retailers," he said. "This massive jump in costs straight off the bottom line will threaten the viability of businesses.

"The failure to act on the threat of next year's tax hikes for business rates and National Insurance will do nothing to bolster local retailers."

Scottish Grocers' Federation chief executive John Drummond said there was little in the budget to boost business within the

c-store sector and pointed out that "the increase in fuel duty by 2p per litre from September will increase costs for all retailers and for rural retailers in particular."

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents said the Budget offered small change for independent newsagents who were in dire need of "easier access to credit, a more supportive attitude from suppliers, a rethink on VAT and a delay in the planned increase in employers' National Insurance contributions."

It warned that a huge rise in landfill taxes could see newspaper and magazine wholesalers passing the cost of disposal of unsolds to retailers.
Budget in brief
2% increase in alcohol duty

2% rise in tax on tobacco

2% rise in fuel duty from September

no change in planned business rates hikes

landfill tax could raise carriage charges

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