In the Spring Budget 2017, the Government announced that relief would be made available to ratepayers who have seen a large increase in their rates bills as a result of the revaluation. Three new schemes have been made available:
Supporting Small Businesses
This new scheme helps small businesses who are facing large increases in their rates bills as a result of the loss of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
In summary, this relief will cap the increase in rates bills to the greater of:
- A percentage increase p.a. of 5%, 7.5%, 10% 15% and 15% - 2017/18 to 2021/22 respectively - all plus inflation; or
- a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month).
Support for Pubs
This new scheme helps pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 with a maximum of a £1,000 discount on their bill for 2018/19 only.
- Eligible pubs should be open to the general public, allow free entry, allow drinking without requiring food to be consumed and permit drinks to be purchased at a bar.
- It should exclude restaurants, cafes, hotels, snack bars, guest houses, museums etc.
To identify qualifying properties the following criteria was used:
- the Valuation Office Classification Code of ‘CL’ which is used to classify licensed properties; and
- the Valuation Office property description of ‘Public House and Premises’.
Discretionary Revaluation Rate Relief
This relief is available for a period of 4 years, reducing year on year. Details of our scheme can be found on our Meetings webpage.
- The qualifying Rateable Value must be less than £200,000.
- The ratepayer faces an increase in their rates bill of a determined percentage .
- The ratepayer must have had liability to pay rates on 31st March 2017 (i.e. not new ratepayers).
- Owners of empty properties do not qualify.
- The ratepayer only qualifies for this relief after all other available reliefs have been applied.
- We have identified qualifying businesses and made awards based on the above criteria. There is no need for ratepayers to apply.
- The criteria for 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 will be subject to a reduced percentage - meaning that ratepayers will receive less revaluation support across the 4 year period of the scheme.
- Any award will cease on 31st March 2021 - or sooner in the event of a change in circumstances.
What happens next?
We have processed all of the new reliefs.
If you have received a revised bill and a letter informing you that you have benefited from one or more of the reliefs you should take one of the following steps:
1.Inform us if you are not entitled because you are in receipt of state aid; or
2.If your account is in credit, and you did not pay by Direct Debit, please confirm your entitlement and provide your bank details to claim your refund; or
3.If your account is in credit and you paid by Direct Debit, please confirm your entitlement to relief by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will refund any credit back into the account from which it was debited; or
4.Pay the revised instalments as detailed on your bill.
If you are unsure whether or not you have received a reduction, please register with our My Bills & Benefits service to view your rates account.
Retail Discount – 2019/20 & 2020/21
The Government has announced a new relief scheme for retail properties that have a rateable value of below £51,000. Under the scheme, eligible ratepayers will receive a one third discount of their daily chargeable amount for two years.
The definition of retail properties will follow that adopted from the previous retail relief scheme in 2014/15 and 2015/16. Guidance on the operation of the relief scheme will be published shortly.
The relief will have effect for 2019/20 and 2020/21 and the aim is to have it applied to the bills that will be issued in March 2019.
State aid rules will apply to the retail relief, the same as any other discretionary business rate relief.
Relief for local newspapers
The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year for 2 years from 1 April 2017, to office space occupied by local newspapers. This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits.
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties. The relief is specifically for local newspapers considered to be a “traditional local newspaper.” The relief is not available to magazines.
The hereditament must be occupied by a local newspaper and wholly or mainly used as office premises for journalists and reporters.
During the Autumn Budget in October 2018 the Government announced an extension of the £1500 business rates discount for local newspapers’ office space in 2019/20.