Local shops urged the Prime Minister to go further to reduce the burden of business rates following his statement to the House of Commons yesterday.

In a question to the Prime Minister, Peter Aldous MP said: “High Streets across the country, including those in Lowestoft, Beccles and Bungay in my constituency are facing tough trading conditions at present, including the prospect of a 5.6% increase in business rates. Can the Prime Minister outline what the government are doing to support traders, to enable them to grow their businesses and to create jobs?

“It is unfair that many businesses, often in the retail sector, which are facing difficult trading conditions at present, should be faced with such a rise in their fixed costs. Capping the rise would help businesses to create new jobs, as well as relieve them from the 20 year high RPI inflation rate increase.”

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is leading a campaign against the 5.6% increase in rates scheduled for this April. ACS is calling on Ministers to reduce the increase to 2% in line with the government’s inflation target. The rates increase is set to cost the convenience store industry more than £35.7m.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The fact that the need for action on business rates is being debated at Prime Minister’s Questions is a telling sign of the groundswell of support for our campaign.

“We know the Prime Minister is faced with tough choices on cutting the deficit and promoting growth. However, the business rates measures in place are simply not enough to make a difference for thousands of retail businesses on our high streets and only an absolute reduction in the rates increase will promote growth in this vital sector of the economy.

This week has also seen MPs Peter Aldous and Lorely Burt table a Parliamentary Early Day Motion in support of the campaign.

Lowman addded: “We are also delighted that Peter Aldous MP and Lorely Burt MP have backed our campaign and given their colleagues the opportunity to show their support. We urge all our members to write to their MPs to back the Motion.”