The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is urging the Government to change the eligibility for its business grant support so it takes in more petrol filling stations.
When the Chancellor announced the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant to help businesses through the coronavirus lockdown, the upper threshold for eligibility to receive the grant was set at £51,000 rateable value.
But the ACS argues that many petrol filling stations already pay an unreasonably high level of rates and this threshold will prevent many of them from receiving much-needed support.
ACS chairman James Lowman said: “The £51,000 rateable value threshold causes particular problems for petrol forecourts who have to contend with excessive rates bills every year. Many of these sites are really struggling now as fuel volumes have plummeted and their footfall and trade has declined. These businesses need support grants urgently to mitigate their lost sales so they can keep operating now and in the long term. Raising this threshold would be hugely welcome for these critical businesses.”
The ACS has signed a joint letter with a number of other trade bodies calling for the limit to be raised to £150,000 rateable value.
The letter states: “It is obvious that even with an expansion of the cap, that not all businesses will benefit. What we believe to be important is that the grant scheme is reasonably extended as critically, this will help thousands of businesses to adapt to the challenges ahead.”
It concludes: “We gratefully request that you reconsider the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant threshold, raising it to £150,000 and allowing a greater proportion of businesses the opportunity to apply for a £25,000 grant through their local authority.”