The Queen has outlined measures to support small shops in her first Conservative majority speech in more than two decades.

Today marked the official start of the parliamentary year and the importance of small businesses in the UK is already apparent, with Government vowing to develop small businesses by reforming business rates, reducing red-tape and increasing local power.

The Enterprise Bill, highlighted in today’s speech, aims to legislate the improvement of the business rates system, ahead of the 2017 evaluation, and to modernise the appeals method. It will allow the Valuation Office Agency the ability to share information with local government to improve the system for retailers and local government alike.

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.”

The Cities and Local Devolution Bill was also mentioned in today’s speech.  It plans to hand more power outside of Westminster and into the local hands to focus on community needs. However, there are concerns over the devolution of power and how taxes will be managed.

John Allen, chairman of Federation of Small Businesses said: “Although we agree with the principle of local areas retaining more of the rewards of success, we do not think it wise to allow local variation in business rates. There is a big risk this would fragment the tax system, leading to confusion and either increase costs for businesses or lead to a race to the bottom, which could harm the economic vitality of cities in the long term.”