The Association of Convenience Stores has joined other business groups in calling for urgent action to address the problems with the business rates system.

Along with 11 other business organisations, including the Federation of Small Businesses, the ACS has co-signed a letter to the Chancellor Philip Hammong requesting action to alleviate the damaging effect of September’s RPI of 3.8%, which will amount to a £1.1 billion increase in business rates from April next year.

The letter states that the increase will discourage growth and investment “just as businesses make consequential decision in preparation of departing the European Union”.

“…Our members, representing diverse sections of the economy, firmly believe that an increase in excess of £1 billion is unsustainable and will only compound the negatives of the existing system. Let there be no doubt, this sharp increase will have a negative impact on business investment.”

In its conclusion the letter states that the “current system is broken and at tipping point”.

ACS chief executive James Lowman later commented: “The business rates system is in urgent need of review to ensure that the system is fairer for everyone and that businesses are not unnecessarily penalised for investing and improving their offer to customers. We are urging the Chancellor to reform the rates system so that it incentivises investment and removes the threat of significant annual increases like the one scheduled for April 2018.”