Retailers have welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Executive that it is to bring business rates in Scotland into line with those in England.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) believes the reduction in the poundage rate, which it hopes will be implemented as soon as possible, will save retailers £44.5m a year.

SRC director Fiona Moriarty said: “This is a big win for the sector because a vibrant retail offering is the key to the prosperity of our town and city centres. The reduction will attract further long term investment from the retail sector.”

Dennis Williams, who runs Broadway Convenience Store in Edinburgh, said: “This is great news, because a reduction in rates will balance the imminent increase in the national minimum wage and the increases in electricity and gas rates we’ve had to absorb this year.”