The government has confirmed the introduction of a new levy on soft drinks in the Queen’s Speech today.

The speech confirmed the introduction of the levy on soft drinks with added sugar would be introduced in April 2018, with full details to be included in the 2017 Finance Bill. The government will consult further on the details of the levy in summer 2016.

It also confirmed the introduction of local retention of business rates, which will be included in the new Local Growth and Jobs Bill.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “Local authorities currently have the power to introduce targeted discretionary rate reliefs to help high street businesses, but these powers are rarely used.

“We hope that the retention of business rates income by local authorities will encourage them to cut business rates and promote investment, and will be looking closely at the detail of the proposals in the Local Growth and Jobs Bill.”