Business rate rises will be capped at 2% from April 2014 and premises with up to £50,000 rateable value will get a £1,000 discount, the chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement today.

George Osborne made a series of pledges to ease the burden of business rates, including examining the possibility of reforming the current system when the 2017 revaluation is due.

He also said businesses would be able to pay rates in 12-month instalments and rate relief would be extended until 2015.

Osborne also announced a halving of reoccupation rates to encourage new businesses on to the high street.

In addition, next year’s earmarked 2% rise in fuel duty rise will be scrapped.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the fact the chancellor has listened to our concerns and will work to secure a fundamental review of rates, that is still necessary for the long term.

“The chancellor’s decision to remove employer NICs for all employees under 21 is a welcome move for local shops. 26% of staff in convenience stores are young workers, and this measure will give retailers more incentive to offer young people their first experiences of work.”