ACS welcomes business rates concessions

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the Chancellor’s action on more frequent business rates revaluations and moving annual indexation to CPI inflation.

James Lowman, ACS chief executive, (pictured) said, “Taken overall, this budget will have a net positive effect on local shops, which is good news for these important businesses and the communities they serve.

“We welcome the introduction of more frequent revaluations but only if this doesn’t place more burdens on retailers to assess and relay information on their properties to the Government.

'The introduction of more frequent revaluation must be delivered hand in hand with a simplification of the business rates system, where possible removing the smallest business from the burden of rates.

“The move from RPI to CPI for business rates indexation will reduce rates bills for local shops. However, the Government needs to ensure that existing reliefs are getting through to local shops that need it, currently 81 councils still haven’t set up schemes to distribute discretionary rate relief despite this being announced and funded in the March 2017 budget.”

Responding to the 4.4% increase in the National Living Wage to £7.83 and the 4.7% National Minimum Wage increase to £7.38, Lowman said, “The 4.4% increase in National Living Wage will mean retailers have to make tough choices in order to maintain staffing levels by delaying investment, reducing staff hours or reducing the number of people employed in their stores.

'We will continue to work with the Government to help them understand the impact the employment costs are on having on the convenience sector.”