Business rates put free ATMs in shops at risk

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling on the Government to exempt ATMs from business rates, which cost up to £15,000 per machine.

According to Sky News, some shop owners are facing one-off bills running into tens of thousands of pounds because of how the charges are going to be backdated to 2010 by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

The ACS, which represents thousands of independent retailers, said: “We believe ATMs are a high street enabler providing shared benefits to a range of traders, allowing consumers to access their cash and spend it within their local communities.”

About 60 per cent of convenience stores currently offer ATMs for their customers to use – but the higher charges have made many machines financially unviable.

Four in five shoppers currently choose to pay with cash in such stores – and gaining access to ATMs in some towns has become more challenging in recent years owing to bank closures.

A VOA spokesman said: “We are currently reviewing ATM sites to ensure all sites that should be assessed are correctly rated.

“This treats all businesses equally, and ensures they pay their fair share of the overall business rates bill.

“We will continue to consult with the machine operators who will be affected by this exercise.”