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Osborne urged to act on rates
Published:  24 May, 2010

RMI Petrol has been quick off the mark in writing to George Osborne to call for his support in the campaign against the current Business Rates system. The

letter to the new Chancellor, from RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson, outlined the organisation's campaign to persuade the Valuation

Office Agency to make changes to the assessment scheme which Madderson said unfairly penalised petrol stations when compared to standalone c-stores. In the letter, sent days after Osborne's appointment was announced, he warned: "We have repeatedly stated to the VOA since last November that the flawed methodology used to calculate the 2010 rating assessments will lead to a dramatic escalation in the rate of site closures, particularly in economically challenged rural areas."

Madderson also included a copy of a new report produced by ratings experts Barber Wadlow on behalf of RMI Petrol. He said the report, entitled Petrol Filling Station Business Rates VOA Valuation Framework Issues, contained "compelling, objective evidence of this threat to site numbers" around the UK network.

In the letter, Madderson added: "This is a distressing scenario, as we support the new coalition government to fight our way out of recession... We ask you to urgently intervene now with the VOA to press them to reconsider their 2010 scheme for business rates on PFS and ensure that forecourt shops receive the same treatment as standalone convenience shops."

Meanwhile, RMI Petrol has called on the new government to clarify its position on fuel pricing as the Conservatives and Lib Dems demonstrated very different stances on fuel pricing in their manifestos before the election.

The Tories had pledged to undertake an industry-wide consultation on a fuel stabiliser scheme while the Lib Dems proposed to introduce a rural fuel discount scheme to let a reduced rate of duty be paid in remote rural areas, as is allowed under EU law.

For more details on the RMI report see News Extra, p10.