A commitment from prime minister Boris Johnson to increase the business rates discount for small businesses next year if re-elected, has been welcomed by the ACS.

The commitment, made as part of an announcement of a package of measures to support businesses would mean that for businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, the retail discount will increase from 33% to 50% in 2020/21. The Conservative Party estimates that this would equate to a £280m tax cut across the small business sector.

Figures from the 2019 Local Shop Report show that the convenience sector currently pays around £308m in business rates. An increase in the discount for convenience stores with rateable value of under £51,000 could save the convenience sector over £30m next year.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Local shops, especially those trading on high streets and in urban areas, will welcome these commitments to provide more help with the burden of business rates, but they also want national policies including help to cope with rising employment costs, a business rates system that promotes investment, and support for providing essential services in their communities.

“Convenience stores have a unique reach not just on high streets, but into villages, housing estates and secondary parades more than any other business sector in the UK, so it’s important that the next Government demonstrates its support for all local shops and the services they provide to communities.”