It is a huge irony that the government is currently giving 100% rate relief to small businesses, but only 50% mandatory relief to rural shops.
Councils have discretionary powers to make up the difference by awarding the other 50% rebate but, of course, some - cash strapped or with other priorities - are choosing not to do so.
Both Sally Gibbons, who runs the village shop in the Esk Valley on the North Yorkshire Moors, and David Scott from Bootle Stores and Post Office in Cumbria, used the term “penalised” when describing the discrimination they face. Both know of nearby stores in nearby towns with higher footfalls getting 100% relief while they get only half.
To get the 50% rural relief in the first place you have to be the only food shop, general store or post office in an area with a population below 3,000 and have a rateable value of less than £8,500 (£12,500 in the case of petrol stations).
Both retailers have also contacted their MPs.
Sally’s MP says it would require a change in the law as it states that you can only receive one benefit. David’s MP has passed on his concerns to the Department for Communities and Local Government and will update him accordingly.
Sally asks: “Have you come across this with any one else?” And David says: “I hope you can highlight this problem which I suspect is going on all over the country.”
I have done the latter - but only you can do the former. Have you too been penalised, or has your council coughed up?