ACS has condemned the Government’s decision to allow large stores to open late on Sundays during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is estimated will cost small stores of £480million.

In response to today’s Budget speech by Chancellor George Osborne, James Lowman, ACS chief executive said: “This Budget is devastating for tens of thousands of small retail businesses across the UK. The Chancellor has set out his view that this Budget will help to stimulate growth, however on the specific retail issues there is nothing for retailers to cheer.”

Sunday Trading: “Sunday Trading relaxation will cost small businesses more than £480 million and wipes out any hopes local shops had for a sales boost from the Olympics. Imposing such a measure at the last minute without consultation is plain wrong.”

Business Rates: “Local shop hopes for a last minute reprieve on April’s business rates bill have been dashed and our members will be forced to will cut back on the investment and job creation our high streets need.

“Despite inflation tumbling the Chancellor has chosen to use last Septembers inflation figures – which were themselves distorted by a rise in VAT – as the basis for a rates increase that will be unaffordable for many small shops.”

Tobacco Duty: “The 5% increase in tobacco duty above inflation is a smugglers charter, pushing more customers away from legitimate retailers into the black economy”

Fuel Duty: “The failure to reduce fuel duty will lead to higher prices of goods on retailers’ shelves and less money for consumers to spend in our members stores”

National Planning Policy Framework: “We are pleased that Ministers have maintained a commitment to town centres in national planning policy. Ministers must now take action to enforce their policy and stem the tide of new development being built out of town, rather than on our high streets.”

VAT: “We urge the Minister to think about bringing more products out of VAT to make them cheaper for consumers, rather than taxing more goods on retailers’ shelves. We will work with Government to the detail of these proposals”