Around 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 the public finances under control.”

The organisation reacted with anger 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.

This year’s Budget is widely seen as less important than usual this year because of the impending general election, after which big changes to expenditure and tax are likely as action is taken to address the deficit.