The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has written to Ministers calling for more help for local shops set to pay a whacking 5.6% rates increase from April.

ACS is following up a Parliamentary answer from Bob Neill MP, Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government, stating that the government estimates only 10% of businesses will benefit from the business rates deferral scheme announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement.

ACS is calling for help for all businesses by reducing their rates increase from the planned 5.6% increase to the government’s inflation target of 2%.

James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “We welcomed the announcement of the deferral scheme in the Autumn Financial Statement but it does not go far enough. Capping business rates at 2% will help all businesses to survive, invest and maintain employment levels in their business.

“The planned 5.6% increase in rates is based on a spike in inflation that bears no resemblance to projected inflations rates in 2012. With vacancy rates on high streets at 14.3% and projected to rise, the government must do more to support jobs and growth in retail.”