The PRA has obtained written confirmation from the Treasury that petrol filling stations are covered by the Small Business Rates Relief scheme announced by the Chancellor in the Budget on October 29.

Philip Hammond announced that the business rates bill for companies with a rateable value of £51,000 or less would be cut by a third over two years.

But PRA chairman Brian Madderson immediately requested the confirmation, because there was confusion after the 2013 Budget, when the Treasury did not specifically include forecourts as one of the eligible businesses.

The PRA had to intervene to obtain formal confirmation that, subject to State Aid de minimis limits and the rates threshold, the discount scheme was applicable.

Madderson said: "Petrol filling stations compete with numerous smaller businesses in the high street such as corner shops, pubs and cafes. It would be seriously anti-competitive for the government to provide rates relief for these enterprises without also including service stations, which provide such a wide-ranging service."

The PRA also welcomed confirmation that fuel duty would continue to be frozen for a further 12 months.