Convenience stores urges investment boost ahead of 2021 budget

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on the government to bring forth tax reform measures which will help convenience retailers invest in and secure their businesses. 

These measures include the extension of 100 per cent business rate relief to all businesses with a rateable value of under £51,000. 

As part of the government’s Covid-19 support package, every business in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector are currently receiving 66 per cent relief until March 2022. 

READ MOREACS calls for action over ‘anti-competitive’ card fees

Prior to the pandemic, 100 per cent relief rate was only available to businesses with a rateable value of below £12,000. 

However, the ACS recommendation ensures that most of the UK’s 47,000 convenience retailers would pay no business rates.

The ACS is also calling for a ‘business growth accelerator’ which would delay increases in rates bills for those who invest for two years. 

This gives retailers time to pay back the investment, rather than being hit with additional costs. 

“The impact of the pandemic has been uneven across the convenience sector, with many stores, especially those in city centres and near transport hubs, struggling to keep going throughout the restrictions that have been in place over the last 18 months,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said. 

“As we look toward recovery and rebuilding for the future, it’s essential that the Chancellor gives businesses the right tools and certainty to be able to invest in the long term.”

The ACS also made further recommendations on sustainability, which include funding for electric vehicle charging and introducing a strategically mapped set of return points for the incoming deposit return scheme. 

The 2021 autumn budget will be delivered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on October 28 and the ACS will be briefing all members on key developments. 

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