Retailers are piling pressure on the Chancellor to deliver a Budget that protects the future of local shops and puts them at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery.

The Association of Convenience Stores said it was lobbying George Osborne with a series of policy proposals ahead of next month’s Budget.

In particular, the body wants Osborne to ease business rates by cutting their link to the rate of inflation.

Other demands include: an end to “inflation busting” increases in the national minimum wage; a delay in the planned increase in fuel duty; and a fresh clamp down on tobacco and alcohol duty fraud.

The ACS also called for new measures to force banks to make lending decisions locally on a case-by-case basis.

“Supporting local shops should be a key part of the Chancellor’s plans for delivering economic growth,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman (pictured).

“Trading within the heart of communities, the local shop sector can be an engine-room of recovery and create new jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs.

“For this to happen the Chancellor must seek out ways to reduce the burden of costs on these businesses and free up the finance and lending they need to make necessary investment. Our recommendations are practical and would have an immediate positive impact on businesses in our sector.”

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