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Rates threat to shops' free cash machines

By Holly Williams

Free cash machines attached to corner shops could become a thing of the past if a legal ruling upholds a Government decision to slap a £400m business rates bill on ATMs.

Retailers have mounted legal action against the Government's decision in 2013 that a cash machine built into the front of a shop should have a separate extra rates bill.

This saw bills sent to thousands of retailers in 2014, backdated to the start of the last tax regime in April 2010.

And this month's business rates changes have seen hefty bill hikes for more than 14,000 cash machines for the next five years.

The long-running case has now reached the Upper Tribunal and the Courts Service said a judgment was due "shortly."

If the ruling does not go in the sector's favour, there are concerns that small shops and independent petrol forecourts may be forced to close ATMs or start charging for cash withdrawals.

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