The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has criticised the Chancellor’s failure to stop unpredictable business rates hikes in his Autumn Financial Statement.

In recent months, ACS has been campaigning for the annual business rates increase to be capped at 2%, in line with the council tax cap and the Government’s own inflation targets.
ACS chief executive James Lowman commented: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of a one-year extension to the small business rate relief scheme, but it will not benefit enough businesses to stimulate the investment needed to revive high streets.
“The Chancellor had a golden opportunity to give some financial certainty and respite to hard-pressed businesses by capping the annual rates increase at 2% – the same as the council tax cap and the government’s inflation target – but he has failed to act. This will be a damaging blow to many local shops who are struggling to stay afloat.”
Lowman said the cut in corporation tax was welcome, but with rising business rates, energy bills and employment costs, the challenge facing local shops was how to make taxable profits in the first place.