Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Adjournment debate

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On 9 March 2010, Conservative MP Philip Dunne led a debate on the impact of business rates rises on petrol stations.

Mr Dunne told MPs that proposed increases in business rates would force many independent filling stations to close or cease selling fuel.

He highlighted the difficulties that would be faced by his constituents, who he said were not well served by public transport and therefore "rely on their motor vehicles", if petrol stations were to close.

The Ludlow MP argued that the 2010 Valuation Office Agency (VOA) business rate revaluation unfairly penalises filling stations - with some facing increases in excess of 250%.

He explained that the proposed higher rates would be phased in over five years, describing this as "a classic Gordon Brown poison pill for an incoming government", since "closures are most likely to fall on the next government's watch".

Communities and Local Government Minister Barbara Follett, responding to the debate, rejected this argument, telling MPs that ministers "do not intervene" in the assessment of business rates.

"It is right that the Valuation Office Agency should assess rateable values independently, because that maintains fairness and transparency in the rating system," she said.

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