The PRA has submitted evidence on the pressures facing independent petrol stations to a cross party group of MPs investigating the state of the UK retail sector.
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee recently launched an inquiry into the UK retail market to question the effects regulations and costs have on the sector.
Brian Madderson, PRA chairman commented: “The PRA has responded to the inquiry in order to represent the views of its members. The continuing prevalence and growth of hypermarket forecourts is driving down the number of independent petrol retailer sites across the UK with an average 300 closing every year.
“We highlighted the uneven playing field with regards to planning applications for new hypermarket forecourts, which also fail to recognise that every hypermarket is draining the entire volume of five independent sites out of a local area. This results in a loss of jobs, loss of local facilities and decreased fuel resilience in the event of a supply crisis.”
He said one of the biggest issues for many UK retailers is business rates and this particularly applies to independent petrol retailers. The PRA has called for all business rates increases to be cancelled until the deferred revaluation takes place in 2017, as well as highlighting the flawed methodology used in rating assessments for forecourt shops versus standalone shops.
The PRA also outlined other sector specific issues such as employment costs, upcoming regulations covering licensing and tobacco displays plus the rapid and unregulated growth of certain credit and fuel card charges.
Madderson added: “We look forward to the opportunity to meet the Select Committee and review steps that can be taken by Government to ease the burdens faced by the independent retail fuels sector.”