Local shops are calling on the government to act to prevent a 4.7% hike in business rates in April 2011. ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers across the country simply can’t afford another hike in their business rates. The system for determining the rate of annual change in business rates is broken and Ministers must act.

“Ministers should intervene to freeze business rates at the 2010 level for two years and use the time to implement a new means of indexing business rates that is less volatile and more sensitive to the pressures on business.”

Under the current system, September’s retail price index (RPI) is used to calculate the annual increase in commercial property taxes for England and Wales which will be introduced the following April. The value of RPI for last month has been published at 4.7%.

The ACS has written to Secretary of State Eric Pickles reiterating retailer concerns.