The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has called for action ahead of the Budget through targeted grants and tax relief for micro-businesses to stop “the haemorrhaging of micro-retailers numbers in rural areas”.

NFRN parliamentary liaison manager Robert Gunning said: “The Chancellor’s policy of treating micro-businesses with a light touch on tax and the simplification of the VAT regime has helped our members.

“However, this good work is in jeopardy if tax increases by the back door through stamp duty and the is no action to help rural retailers that are suffering because of a lack of commitment to local sustainability.”

The NFRN also said the Chancellor should be cautious in giving his support for the rolling out of congestion charging across other metropolitan areas.