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Business rates support during coronavirus

The government has announced some changes to business rate relief as a result of the budget and to help with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Please read the support information on the government's business support website

Expanded retail discount

The government announced that retail relief discount would increase from 50% to 100% and to more areas of business for 2020 to 2021.

To qualify for this relief, the premises must be occupied. Your premises will count as occupied if you would normally be open but have only chosen to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

You can read the expanded retail discount guidance on GOV.UK.

Businesses that already receive 50% retail discount

If your existing bill for the 2020 to 2021 financial year shows a 50% retail discount, you do not need to take any action nor make any payment. Your bill will be updated to show the 100% rate relief and will be reissued as soon as possible.

Retail, leisure and hospitality sector businesses

There are a number of reasons why your 2020 to 2021 bill may not show retail relief. The original scheme was only available to business with a rateable value under £51,000 and to certain types of retail premises.

The government has now expanded the types of business which now qualify and removed the £51,000 limit.

We will try to identify your business as an eligible business for the enhanced relief and reissue your business rates bill as soon as we are able to. At this stage, we are asking that you do not apply.

If you believe that your business should qualify, but you do not get a revised bill by the time your May instalment is due, please contact:

During this time you should continue to pay your existing business rates bill. If you do subsequently qualify for increased assistance and have overpaid, you will be refunded.

If you are struggling financially to make the payments, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can discuss how we might be able to help.

Businesses with more than one premise

The new relief can be awarded for each eligible business property. We will automatically identify each qualifying property.

Businesses which do not qualify for the expanded scheme

The types of businesses which do not qualify for the expanded scheme include:

  • casinos and gambling clubs
  • financial services (such as banks, building societies, cash points, betting shops and payday lenders)
  • medical services (such as dentists, doctors, chiropractors and vets)
  • professional services (such as accountants, solicitors, insurance agents and tutors)
  • post office sorting offices
  • premises not readily accessible to the public
  • other services (such as estate agents and employment agencies)

If your business is not eligible for any of the new rate reliefs, your bill will not be reissued.

If you are struggling to make your payments please contact us as soon as possible. 

Small business rates relief and grants

Scheme 1 – business support grants fund

This scheme was originally announced in the budget on 11 March. The level of grant has now increased to £10,000.

The current arrangement is that all properties in receipt of rural rate relief or small business rates relief on 11 March, including those in receipt of tapered relief, will be eligible for a grant payment of £10,000.

Properties whose liability is calculated using the small business multiplier but not in receipt of small business rates relief will not qualify for this grant and neither will properties which are occupied for personal use (such as private stables, beach huts and moorings even if they are in receipt of relief).

Scheme 2 – retail, hospitality and leisure business grants fund

This scheme was announced on 17 March. The current arrangement is that properties which would have qualified for retail discount on 11 March will be entitled to either:

  • £10,000 where the rateable value is £15,000 or less
  • £25,000 where the rateable value is greater than £15,000 and less than £51,000

Scheme 3 - discretionary grant fund

On 1 May 2020, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced a Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund to support businesses affected by coronavirus.

This is aimed at small businesses who are not eligible for the small business grant fund or the retail, leisure and hospitality fund.

The fund is to help cover fixed costs faced by businesses, where they can show that they cannot meet these.

Please read our guidance document before you apply.

PDF iconDiscretionary grant fund guidance287.29 KB

You can also read the discretionary grant fund guidance for local authorities on GOV.UK

Applications closed

Please note that applications for the discretionary grant fund are now closed.

Grant payment process

We have written to just over 700 businesses that we believe are eligible to receive grants, requesting information to make sure the right level of funding is available and to counter any potential fraud. Once this information is returned, payments will be made electronically.

If you think your company is entitled to funding but hasn’t received a letter, please get in contact with us by:

Businesses that are not eligible

If your business is not eligible for any of the new rate reliefs, your bill will not be reissued.

If you are struggling to make your payments please contact us as soon as possible.

State aid

Many of the business rate reliefs will come under the rules regarding state aid. State Aid law is the means by which the European Union regulates state funded support to businesses.

EC 1407/2013, the De Minimis regulations, allow an undertaking to receive up to €500,000 De Minimis aid over a rolling 3 year period, including aid received outside of business rates relief.

Any De Minimis aid granted during the current or the 2 previous financial years must be declared.

However, the government are working on obtaining approval from the EU to ignore the de minimus level for the expanded retail relief.

You can read more guidance about state aid on GOV.UK.

Contact information

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