About 100,000 small shops will have a year off business rates from October, Chancellor Alistair Darling revealed in this week’s Budget.

Shops with rateable values up to £6,000 will benefit from the change. The BRC welcomed the initiative but said it would make little difference to multiple retailers.

The retail trade body gave the Budget a mixed review. BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “Reviving consumer confidence is the route to growth and jobs. Thank goodness no new tax rises were announced. But customers needed to hear a convincing plan for bringing public finances under control.”

The BRC reacted angrily to a 2.2% increase in the minimum wage from £5.80 per hour to £5.93 in October, revealed just after the Budget. Robertson said the rise was “downright irresponsible” and would pile costs on retailers and their suppliers.