MP Philip Dunne has joined retailers in their fight against the new Business Rates, calling for the revaluation to be postponed. The Conservative MP for Ludlow in Shropshire said the anticipated increases under the new rating methodology were unfair and threatened the livelihood of retailers.
He said: "This was brought to my attention by my local forecourt operator in the village back in November. He is a single operator and told me he was facing a 250% increase in his rates bill and his conclusion was that he would have to stop selling fuel and just keep his convenience store. It is the only forecourt in an eight mile radius. That prompted me to carry out a survey of all petrol retailers in the area about 15. Of the four that replied, one faced an increase of 450% and another a rise of £68,000. All said they would cut staff, two were considering stopping selling fuel, and one thought they would go out of business."
Dunne has been in talks with the RMI Independent Petrol Retailers Association (RMI Petrol), and was planning to table an Early Day Motion this month and hold a meeting with Barbara Follett MP, Local Government Minister, to discuss the "unfair" increases in rates, due to be introduced in April. He said the revaluation should be postponed, adding he would press Follett to revert to the 2005 methodology or rethink the new rating criteria.
Dunne commented: "Does she want to be remembered as ’Follett the Filling Station Feller’, as her plan would hasten the closure of filling stations across the UK?"