Petrol retailers group slams hikes

A petrol retailers group is opposing expected hikes in business rates saying they might force hundreds of rural stations to shut down.

The RMI Independent Petrol Retailers Association (RMI Petrol) is planning a parliamentary fight against the large increases because business rates of independent petrol stations are based on their relatively high turnover rather than square footage like other retailers.

The hikes from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) effective from next April could result in increases of up to 200% in some cases, said RMI Petrol, which represents two-thirds of Britain's 9,000 petrol stations.

A main factor behind the revaluations are increasing petrol prices.

But RMI Petrol warned that the rate of closures among independent petrol retailers could double to around 500 a year if the hikes come into force, and many rural communities will be left without a life-line.

Chairman Brian Madderson said: "We are calling upon the VOA to re-consider their process, before the sector gets ravaged, especially with the prospect of yet more casualties in fragile rural economies."

Justine Greening, shadow communities and local government minister said the rural petrol stations often act as local shops too and thousands of people could be left "without the most basic amenities" if the hikes become effective.

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