More than 2,000 fuel retailers have already lodged appeals against the 2010

Business Rates.

The figure emerged following a Parliamentary Question last week from MP Charlie Elphicke. Elphicke’s enquiry was: "To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many appeals against Valuation Office Agency rating assessments by independent petrol filling stations remain outstanding from the 2005 Valuation Office Agency revaluation scheme; and how many such appeals have been lodged since 1 April 2010 in respect of the 2010 revaluation scheme. [8608]"

The response, from MP David Gauke, was recorded on Hansard as: "The Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) primary aim is to ensure that rating assessments are accurate and fair. Where possible, it aims to reach agreement on what constitutes fair and accurate valuation schemes through discussions with the relevant ratepayers or their representatives. Where this is not possible, ratepayers may raise proposals (appeals) against the rating lists."

He said the total number of rating proposals outstanding relating to petrol filling stations (excluding those with supermarkets) for 2010 was 2,076 – 1,966 in England and 110 in Wales, with the number outstanding from 2005 at 1,672 – 1,579 in England and 93 in Wales.

Gauke added: "The VOA is not required to hold details of the name of the occupier of individual properties and so is not able to say how many of these outstanding proposals relate to petrol filling stations occupied by independent petrol retailers.

"Data on proposals made against the 2010 rating lists has not been published, and so the above data have been taken from the VOA’s operational database. Proposals to alter a rating list can be made on several grounds; these include that the complied list valuation is incorrect; that a notice to alter the list is incorrect; for deletion of the entry in the list; or there has been a material change of circumstances that has affected the property. The numbers provided are for all grounds of appeal.

"Where the ratepayer and the Valuation Officer cannot agree on the correct rateable value, the appeal will be heard before the independent Valuation Tribunal. If the ratepayer is still dissatisfied with the outcome, then there is a right to make an appeal to the Lands Tribunal."

Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol, said the exceptional number of appeals lodged so quickly for 2010 reinforced RMI’s message that the latest Revaluation Scheme implemented in April was "financially unfair and ant-competitive".

In a letter to MP Robert Neill dated August 5, Madderson stated: "The resulting assessments will be more widely challenged by PFS owners/operators across the country than ever before leading to even greater congestion as the early Appeal figures confirm.

"We do hope that we can all persuade the VOA to move further than their proposed amendments envisage. It is essential that PFS businesses can pursue a financially viable course going forward which meets consumer needs and provides local employment prospects – especially in rural areas."