Business rates - reductions

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Reliefs and Reductions

A number of reliefs and reductions are available.

Empty Properties

To qualify as empty, a property must be completely empty or out of use.

Most properties that have been empty no longer receive relief from rates. However, some empty properties are still exempt from rates. These include:

  • Properties that are empty for less than three months
  • Industrial premises that are empty for less than six months
  • Properties that are held by a liquidator or representative of a bankrupt or deceased person
  • Properties where a company is in administration
  • Listed buildings and ancient monuments
  • Any "small" properties, ie with a rateable value below £2900
  • Properties where occupation is prohibited by law
  • Properties owned by charities or community amateur sports clubs

Once the exempt period has expired, there will be no relief and 100% of the rates will be payable.

Transitional Relief

The purpose of transitional relief is to phase in gradually any changes to your rates following a revaluation. From 2023 all properties will be revalued every 3 years . After a revaluation, many ratepayers see their rates rise or fall significantly. Without transitional relief, it would be very difficult for businesses to plan ahead.

To calculate your transitional relief we will take the amount of rates you paid last year (called your "base liability") and apply a percentage (called an "appropriate fraction") which is prescribed by the government. We then adjust this to take account of the rate of inflation. The result is to limit the amount by which your rates can increase or decrease each year.

The transitional relief rules are very complex and this is only a simplified summary. For a fuller explanation contact us by email, or speak to a properly qualified rating adviser.

Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to a reduction of 80% in their rates, as long as the property in question is being used for charitable purposes. In some cases, generally where charities are local rather than national or international, we may also grant up to a further 20% rate relief.

Complete the relief form to claim rate relief. The form must be signed. Please make sure that you also enclose proof of the charity's registration with the Charities Commission.

Non Profit-Making Organisations

We have discretion to grant rate relief to certain non profit-making organisations such as sports clubs and educational institutions. All applications for rate relief are considered by the elected members of the council. They will have regard to whether the organisation provides benefits to the local community. When considering an application for discretionary relief we will look at certain criteria.

Complete the relief form to claim rate relief. The form must be signed. Please make sure that you enclose a copy of the organisation's constitution or rulebook.

Properties in Rural Areas

Some village shops, post offices, petrol filling stations and pubs attract rate relief. To qualify, the property must be in a rural settlement.

If a shop or post office is the only one within the rural settlement, and it has a rateable value below £8,500, it will automatically qualify for rate relief. For petrol filling stations and pubs to qualify the rateable value must be below £12,500. Other types of business may also qualify, as long as they are of benefit to the local community. The council has set out a rural rate relief policy.

Relief form for rate relief for general stores, post offices, public houses and petrol filling stations.

If you think your business may be entitled to rate relief, please let us know by email.

Small Business Rate Relief

If you are a small business you may be entitled to small business rate relief.

Retail and Nursery Discount

In the Budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the Expanded Retail Discount and the Nursery Discount are to be extended into 2021/2022.

The discounts are set at:

  • 100% for 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, uncapped
  • 66% for 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022*

*Expanded Retail Discount for 1 July 2021 to 31 March is capped at £2 million for businesses closed during the national lockdown starting 5 January 2021 and at £105,000 for businesses legally allowed to open (Nursery Discount is capped at £105,000 for all eligible businesses)

If you received either discount in 2020/2021 we have automatically carried the discount forward.

This cash cap applies at a Group company level (so holding companies and subsidiaries cannot claim up to the cash cap for each company) and also to organisations which, although not a company, have such an interest in a company that they would, if they were a company, result in its being the holding company. Find further details of the cash cap

Expanded Retail Discount

Nursery Discount

You will need to inform the authority, on a self-assessment basis, if you are in breach of the cash caps. If you have exceeded the cash cap on other properties and wish to refuse to receive the Expanded Retail Discount or the Nursery Discount granted in relation to the premises to which this bill and letter relates, please notify us in writing at

ANNUAL BILL 2021/2022

For eligible ratepayers, the 100% relief shown on your bill will only apply for the first three months of the financial year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021). Unfortunately, due to the late notification, it was not possible for our software supplier to update our system, which is why the relief is showing for the whole financial year. Therefore, your bill will be adjusted at the end of June 2021 to show your ongoing reduced discount entitlement of 66% for 1 July 2021 – 31 March 2022. You will be advised of the required payments for your business rates at that time.


You do have the option this year to refuse the expanded retail discount or nursery discount. If you wish to opt-out of the support please contact the business rates team on receipt of this letter.

Further information on the discounts can be found via the following links:

If you have any queries or require assistance when you receive your bill, please email

Local Newspaper Relief

From 1 April 2017 the Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount for office space occupied by local newspapers. This discount is worth £1,500.

The relief applies to local newspapers only, the property must be occupied by a local newspaper and used wholly or mainly as offices for journalists and reports, only one discount is available per newspapers title and per property and the relief is subject to State Aid limits.

If you think your business may be entitled to Local Newspaper Relief, please let us know by email.

Supporting Small Businesses Relief

The Supporting Small Businesses relief will ensure that the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers is limited to the greater of:

  • A percentage increase p.a. of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 15% and 15% from 2017/18 to 2021/22 all plus inflation. Unlike the transitional relief scheme, for the first year of the scheme the percentage increase is taken against the bill for 31 March 2017 after small business rate relief or rural rate relief; or
  • A cash value of £600 per year. This cash minimum increase ensures that those ratepayers paying nothing or very small amounts in 2016/17 after small business rate relief now have to pay something.

To qualify:

  • Must have been in receipt of Small Business Relief/Rural Rate Relief at 31 March 2017; and
  • The daily charge for 1 April 2017 (after transition) is more than daily rate for 31 March 2017.

If the ratepayer was receiving Small Business Relief extension due to taking on an additional property they will be eligible for the remainder of the 12 month extension period.

In the first year of the scheme, this means all ratepayers losing some or all of their small business rate relief or rural rate relief will see the increase in their bill capped at £600. The cash minimum increase is £600 per year thereafter. This means that ratepayers who are currently paying nothing under small business rate relief and are losing all of their entitlement to relief (i.e. moving from £6,000 rateable value or less to more than £15,000) would under this scheme be paying £3,000 in year 5.

Properties eligible for charity or Community Amateur Sports Club relief or hereditaments which are unoccupied are not eligible for Supporting Small Businesses Relief.

The Supporting Small Businesses scheme will help those ratepayers who, as a result of the change in their rateable value at the revaluation, are losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief and, as a result, are facing large increases in their bills.

The Council will automatically notify ratepayers who are eligible for this relief. If you have not been notified, and believe you are eligible, please contact the Business Rates section on 01732 876338 or email us giving your reasons.