ACS CEO James Lowman provided evidence to the Public Bill Committee hearing on the Local Government Finance Bill to protect convenience stores when business rates laws change.
All councils will have the power to reduce business rates as of April 2017, while combined authorities, i.e. those with elected mayors, will be able to introduce levies on rate-payers to raise money for certain types of infrastructure projects.
Lowman questioned the effect such legislation changes will have on convenience stores, however, given that the majority of their customers live within a quarter of a mile of the stores they shop at.
He said: “When considering local authorities’ ability to raise revenue for infrastructure projects through business rates, we are concerned that as the majority of convenience store customers come from within a quarter of a mile of their store, the potential positive impact of large scale infrastructure projects on a store with very local customers is questionable.
“We support the principle of local authorities having more tools to support businesses through the business rates system. However, we want to make sure that they’re being used effectively to promote investment and sustainability and that the convenience sector is not neglected in favour of other, more lucrative, types of business.”