Conservative leader David Cameron has proposed tax relief for small shops in recognition of their contribution to local communities.
He called for increased protection for small shops from the planning system and promised to consider the impact that reducing taxation and red tape could have on independent shops.
"The personal and specialised offer from independent retailers, combined with their tendency to be more involved in community activities, and to support local suppliers, means that they should be treated differently," he said. "They should be considered to compete with larger chains not just on economic terms, such as price or range of goods or services, but also on their social value.
"If small independent shops have a greater social value than chains or larger shops, then it makes sense for them to benefit not only from retention and strengthening of the need test but also from an advantageous tax and regulatory regime which tips the balance back in their favour."
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "We welcome the proposal for reducing the burden of red tape and taxes on local shops and are keen to discuss these in more detail."

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