The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on Chancellor George Osbourne to act to prevent a business rate increase that will cost more than £35m to the convenience store sector.

The annual increase in business rates is brought in every year in line with the rate of inflation, as reflected by the Retail Price Index, in the month of September in the previous year. Due to the highest RPI rate in 20 years, business rates next April will rise by 5.6%.

ACS is calling for the increase scheduled for April 2012 to be reduced to 2%, in line with the government’s target rate of inflation. The ACS hopes that Osbourne will prevent the increase when making his Autumn Financial Statement on November 29.

“This rates increase is a significant threat to achieving the Chancellors hope for growth and job creation in the convenience store sector. He must act quickly to reassure businesses that he will not impose it,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman.

“Given that the inflation target is 2% it should be this that determines increases in business taxation. We believe that this is a sensible, proportionate and necessary way to provide real support to businesses that are vital to the economic recovery.” 

ACS is also urging retailers to write to their MPs calling on them to lobby the chancellor to take action on the business rates increase. The pro forma letter for retailers is available to download at