The Association of Convenience Stores has called on the chancellor, George Osborne, to do more support local retailers.

In its submission ahead of the government’s Budget on March 16, the ACS has demanded the reintroduction of retail rate relief, which would provide small high street businesses with a £2,000 discount on business rates.

It is also campaigning for a package other measures, including reinstating the 2% cap on annual business rate rises, and an increase in the threshold for small business rate relief, which would take more businesses from the rating list.

Some 32% of convenience store owners have challenged their business rate evaluation since the re-evaluation in 2010.

The ACS also wants to see the government ring-fence HMRC funding to tackle the trade in illicit alcohol and tobacco, and to scrap onerous proposals to require businesses to report their taxes quarterly.

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, said: “Over the last year, the government has announced measures that will increase costs for local shops such as the national living wage, while quietly neglecting to renew incentives like the retail rate relief scheme. 

“We need this important measure to be re-introduced to offset some of the costs businesses are now facing.

“This is already set to be a year of difficult trading conditions for local shops dealing with higher wage costs and uncertainty over their business rates bills.

“The government cannot take these businesses, and the essential services they provide in communities, for granted.”