Local retailers trade bodies have welcomed measures outlined in the Queen’s Speech which they say support the growth of local shops.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The new legislative agenda has a clear vision to support small stores through the Enterprise Bill so that they can make essential investments in their infrastructure, staff and local communities. We will be working with the Department for Business on ensuring that deregulation supports convenience store owners.”

NFRN CEO Paul Baxter said: “The government is making steps towards big changes for the country through further devolution to Scotland and Wales, as well as more powers for cities and the inevitable EU referendum. The NFRN will be watching these with interest and will speak up should they start to impact small independent retailers in a negative way.”

On VAT, Lowman said: “The Finance Bill will provide important stability for retailers who could be significantly affected by an increase in the rate of VAT.”

NFRN national president Martyn Brown welcomed the announcement on the issue of banning legal highs (psychoactive substances). He said: “The Federation and its members are pleased the government has acted now to tackle this growing problem. I have continuously warned members to avoid these substances, as many people do not understand the effect they can have on people,” he said.

The NFRN has also welcomed the Enterprise Bill publicised by business secretary Sajid Javid last week.

Brown added: “The decision by government to extend its undertaking of burdensome regulation is a positive move for small businesses and we are delighted that the primary authority scheme will be made accessible for more micro businesses.”