By the time you read this, the Rating Act 2001, which gained royal assent in May, should have trickled down to the local authorities. It will provide 50% mandatory rate relief to village shops with rateable values up to £6,000 in rural areas with a population up to 3,000 in England and Wales. The measure was introduced post foot and mouth to help ease the increased burden on village stores. However, beware any "ratings consultants" calling you and offering to get this rate reduction for you. If you are unsure call the business rates help line run by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors on 020 7222 7000 {{GROCER CLUB }}