Speaking at the ACS Heart of the Community, conference Clegg said: "Many local retailers have already been pushed to the wall by the rise and rise of the supermarkets ... the trolleygarchy".
He called for banks to help smaller shops in financial difficulties by giving at least a month's notice for any changes to the terms of a loan. He also proposed an emergency summit between energy companies and small business leaders to ensure independents benefited from falling wholesale energy costs as soon as possible.
Clegg criticised the Government for failing to protect small local shops. "Government has sacrificed the high street on the altar of out-of-town development," he said.