SMALL retailers will be offered new help to try to support high streets facing competition from internet retailing.
Chancellor George Osborne said businesses moving into vacant town centre shops would pay half the normal business rates.
Retailers with properties with a rateable value of up to £50,000 will receive a discount on their business rates over the next two years worth £1,000.
Business rates were due to rise by 3.2 per cent in the New Year but that rise will now be capped at two per cent.
Council leaders have been told to expect more details of new Government measures to help town centres today.
The Chancellor told MPs that “there is one group of businesses that have found the recession especially hard – as it has coincided with a rising challenge from the internet that is only getting stronger.
“These are our local retailers – the shops, the pubs and the cafes that make up our high streets across Britain.
“With Small Business Saturday this weekend, I want the Government to do all it can to help them.”
Marion King, president of MasterCard for UK and Ireland, said: “The Government needs to do all it can to prevent any more closures on the high street – we have to give businesses the confidence to grow and consumers the confidence to spend, in order to stimulate the economy.”