Retailers plead over Budget

Shop owners have called for a “retail friendly” Budget next month, after new data showed a spike in the number of empty shops. Figures from the Local Data Company, published today, show shop vacancy rates climbed to 14.5 per cent at the end of 2010, compared to 12 per cent a year earlier. The British Retail Consortium has called on the chancellor to limit the impact of an impending rise in business rates and to cancel any further rises in the national minimum wage.