I learned a bit more about rates recently, owing to the Budget and courtesy of chartered surveyor and ratings specialist Ken Batty, who practises in Preston.

Everyone agreed it was good news that, in a year’s time, small businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of below £12,000 (previously £6,000) will no longer pay any non-domestic rates. From 1 April 2017 there will also be tapered relief for rateable values between £12,000 and £18,000.

“The standard rate multiplier or UBR - ie before the additional larger premises supplement is added - will now only apply on properties with rateable values over £51,000; previously it applied to properties over £18,000 rateable value (hence a very significant increase),” says Ken.

He also enlightened me as to what the ‘average’ rateable value of an ‘average’ c-store would be. Apparently, there is a north/south divide. “In the North the average small convenience store will have a rateable value of £10-15K; in the South usually £14-17K.”

He adds: “Before readers get too excited about this they should be aware that using their current (2010 revaluation) rateable values for this exercise can only give a guide as all non-domestic properties in England will have a new rateable value, based on rental values as at 1 April 2015 (known as the AVD antecedent valuation date - fixed two years before each revaluation list comes into effect).” Right, so it’s the landlords we have to watch now.

Best news of all, says Ken: “C-stores should no longer be a target for the cowboys.”