Stamp duty on shops hits retail

Tax specialists at KPMG warned the Chancellor's decision to increase stamp duty on commercial leases could quadruple tax bills faced by retailers taking on a new lease.

KPMG retail tax specialist Suzanne Roberts said: 'The 1 per cent rise would increase the tax bill by four to five times on a 10-year commercial lease.'

In a Budget focused on war and welfare Gordon Brown froze stamp duty levied on business sales and raised the exemption thresholds on commercial properties and leases.

The BRC attacked the Chancellor for a bland budget that failed to address the sales slump hitting the high street.