The Government has published guidance for local authorities today confirming that petrol stations will be eligible for a rates discount for the next two years.
The guidance outlines the £1,000 discount for small businesses with premises with a rateable value of under £50,000 that was announced by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement.
The inclusion of petrol stations is a victory for the PRA which had to lobby hard after Government departments initially said they were not included in the measure.
When PRA asked The Treasury and Department for Communities and Local Government about the discount, it was told it would not apply to petrol filling stations as it was only intended for high street retailers involving shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
The PRA responded with a series of briefings to MPs to gain political support as well as direct intervention with contacts at Department for Communities and Local Government and HM Treasury culminating in a meeting with the new Economic Secretary Nicky Morgan MP on 17th December.
PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “Inclusion of petrol stations is a direct result of PRA intervention with government following comment by the Chancellor. This shows how formidable our lobbying has become, knowing which people in which department to ask the question of, and informing them of the needs of the petrol stations.
“This is a massive windfall saving, purely as a result of PRA intervention, commencing in April, for this financial year and the following financial year.”
The guidance only applies to local authorities in England and it will be up to finance ministers in the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland and Welsh Assemblies as to whether they will follow the lead of Westminster.
Madderson commented: “I have written to each of the appropriate ministers of those three countries pointing out the Chancellor’s package of rates assistance for certain smaller retailers groups announced in his Autumn Statement and asking what measures will they be introducing, and when, to assist their retailers. I am awaiting their responses.”
Experts have told PRA they expect about 70% of filling stations will qualify for the discount.
To see the guidance document click here