The trade body representing the forecourt sector, the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) have today written to Leo Varadkar asking him to intervene in the dispute between petrol retailers and the valuation office. The association is concerned at the disparity in the current rating revaluation which has seen some retailers hit with increases of up to 500% when supermarkets and retail shops in the same areas are being levied with much lower increases.
David Blevings, spokesperson for the IPRA said, “The way valuations are calculated for a retail forecourt compared to a stand-alone shop/convenience store is completely different and we believe incorrect. A convenience store or supermarket is valued purely on useable floor space while service stations are valued on turnover. A retail forecourt is basically a supermarket with the add on of fuel pumps. A forecourt must submit turnover information to the Valuation Office and this is not a requirement for supermarkets; we want to know why forecourts are effectively being penalised”.
As an industry body the IPRA have lobbied on this issue with numerous TD’s, Government Ministers and the Valuation Office. However, after three years of discussions with the Valuation Office and being dismissed repeatedly by Minister of State Phelan the IPRA feels they have no choice but to involve the European Commissions’ Competition Authority who are currently reviewing this issue from a state aid perspective.
“While talk about establishing a task force was welcomed we have not seen any evidence of the task force being established while our Members are levied with substantially increased rateable valuations that could see some businesses closing. No one is against paying rates but any system must be fair, transparent and equitable. We are calling on An Taoiseach to get involved as we believe the current system could be deemed anti-competitive and penalises retailers and favours supermarkets which is grossly unfair to local family owned businesses”, added David.