Business rates relief and reductions

How can I reduce my business rates?

Small Business Rate Relief

You may qualify for a reduction in the amount of business rates you pay if the rateable value of your business property is less than £15,000.

There are changes to SBRR for those who are taking on a second property. In previous years, if you took on a second property with a rateable value of more than £2,599, you would no longer qualify for SBRR. You will now be entitled to receive SBRR on your first property for another 12 months, even if you take on a second property and from 1 April 2017 the threshold rises with a rateable value of more than £2899, from the date of occupation of that second property and and the combined Rateable Value of all the properties you occupy must be below £20,000.  

When applying for SBRR please note this reduction can only be applied to one account.

Find out how to apply for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) .

The Government has also announced in the 2016 Spring budget that from 1 April 2017, SBRR may be permanently doubled and the thresholds will increase to benefit a greater number of businesses. Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £12,000 and below will receive 100% relief. Businesses with a property with a rateable value between £12,000 and £14,999 will receive tapered relief. However, please note that the Valuation Office Agency has now re-assessed all rateable values, with the revaluation taking effect 1 April 2017.

Further information on rateable values can be found at The Valuation Office Agency.

Although currently businesses have to apply for small business rate relief, the council supports the Federation of Small Businesses' rate relief campaign which is calling for small business rate relief to be granted automatically.

Empty Rates

Shops and offices are exempt from rates for the first three months after the property becomes empty. After this period full rates become payable.

Industrial properties are exempt from rates for the first six months after the property becomes empty. After this period full rates will become payable.

Some properties are exempt from empty property rates.

  • properties with a rateable value under £2,900* (*in 2010/11 the threshold was £18,000; from 2011/2012 the threshold was £2,600 these changes have been made by the government)
  • empty properties of companies in administration or liquidation
  • listed buildings

Please note that the above is intended as a guide only, it is not a definitive statement of law. Further information is available from the council's Business Rates Team on 01273 291981 and the Valuation Office Agency's business rate pages.

Charities and Discretionary Reliefs

Charities are entitled to 80% relief from the rates on properties that are wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are also eligible to claim mandatory relief of 80%. The council can grant the additional 20% at its discretion. Where relief is applied, then the charge is calculated on the standard multiplier.

The council can also grant 100% discretionary relief for a property if it is occupied by an organisation that is not established or conducted for profit.

For further details please contact the Business Rates team on 01273 291981.

Partly Occupied Property Relief - Section 44(A) Relief

 Ratepayers are liable for the full non-domestic rate whether the property is fully or only partly occupied. However, in certain circumstances, where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the Council has discretion to award relief for the unoccupied part. As examples, relief may be appropriate if part of your premises can not be occupied following a fire, or if parts are being refurbished.

To apply for Section 44A Relief we request that you send in details of the part occupation and how long it is anticipated that the partial occupation will last.

If we consider that this relief is merited, we will then get back to you requesting detailed plans of the occupied/unoccupied parts. On receipt of these, we will send them to the Valuation Office Agency and ask them to apportion the Rateable Value between the occupied and unoccupied parts. 

Public House Relief Scheme

This scheme is available during 2017/2018 only. It applies to eligible occupied pubs with a rateable value of £100,000 or less, for one year from 1 April 2017. The relief is aimed at independently owned pubs that are not part of a chain and this relief is subject to state aid limits for businesses with multiple properties.

Eligible pubs should:

  • be open to the general public
  • allow free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided
  • allow drinking without requiring food to be consumed
  • permit drinks to be purchased at a bar.

For these purposes, it excludes:

  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • nightclubs
  • hotels
  • snack bars
  • guesthouses
  • boarding houses
  • sporting venues
  • music venues
  • festival sites
  • theatres
  • museums
  • exhibition halls
  • cinemas
  • concert halls
  • casinos

This relief will be applied directly to the rate account of eligible pubs. You do not need to make an application.

If you have not received this relief, please contact the Business Rates team to discuss whether you would qualify for this discount.


Retail Relief

Support for retail businesses occupying properties that have Rateable Values (RV) up to £50,000. This award was automatically applied to existing businesses at annual billing.

From 1 April 2014 there was an automatic £1,000 discount on shops, restaurants, cafes, bars or clubs that have a rateable value of £50,000 or less.

For 2015/2016 the government increased the discount up to £1,500. This discount will not continue after 2016/2017 tax year.

For further details please refer to the Retail Relief page.

This relief is no longer available, the cut off date for applying was 30 September 2016.

Relief for Local Newspapers

If you are a local newspaper paying Business Rates for office space, we can provide a discount of up to £1,500 a year for two years from 1 April 2017. There is only one discount available per local newspaper title and per property and subject any state aid limits your organisation are in receipt of. Please contact the business rates team if you wish to apply for this relief.

>> back to top