Independents have reacted with anger to the three percentage point rise in small business corporation tax in last week's budget.
The rate will rise from 19% to 22% over three years, while the tax rate for larger companies, including most multiple retailers, will fall from 30% to 28% from next April.
Kevin Phillips, corporate tax partner with accountancy firm Baker Tilly, said this year's budget was bad news for small retailers. "Overall, it's going to cost them. Even though they are getting an enhanced write-off for capital expenditure and they will get their tax relief quicker, which will help cash flow, there is an absolute increase in the corporation tax they have to pay."
Independent retailers voiced their discontent with the change. Julian Blades, owner of Jules B, a seven-store independent based in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, said he was unhappy about the tax hike and that it was "very unjust".
He added: "We will just have to work even harder and be a bit cleverer and a bit sharper in the way we run our business."
Angela Wybrew, owner of Angela of Long Melford in Suffolk, said: "The tax increase seems very unfair and it won't be helpful for any of us. I thought the government was supposed to like smaller retailers and wanted to encourage them, but obviously it doesn't. Instead it is favouring the larger retailers that are taking over the high street."