Just days after the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) claimed that two-thirds of businesses will see a decrease in rates and that any increases seen will average out at 1% a year, convenience retailers contacted by C-Store revealed that their rates will increase many times over.
Forecourt retailers in particular have been hit with huge hikes, with some seeing increases of up to 600% as a result of the government's calculation for the sector, which takes into account turnover in April 2008.
Raj Chandegra of Londis in Barnes, London, is facing a 40% increase and can't understand where this figure has come from. "It's a huge jump and I will definitely be appealing," said Raj.
Sam Palmer who owns a Spar store in the Pembrokeshire town of Narberth, has had a 250% increase in rates costing an extra £28,000 per year and has already appealed the new figure. "I'm not sure if the appeal will help, and when the new rate comes in we may have to cut staff in the store to pay for it," he said.
Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government Justine Greening said stores could go out of business because of the formula. "The government would rather have the headline that more premises are seeing a reduction, but this isn't a true representation of the reality," she said.
The Association of Convenience Stores said that the way that rates are calculated needed to be addressed immediately and urged retailers to lodge appeals with the VOA before the April 1 deadline.