Business rates reductions

Update 25 March 2021

Business rates relief boosted with new £1.5 billion pot

On 25 March 2021 the Government announced new business rates relief for those affected by COVID-19 outside the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The details of this announcement can be found here.

We are currently awaiting detailed guidance from the Government on this and when more information is known we will place it on our website.

There are several Business Rate reductions (reliefs) that you may be eligible for.

To apply for a reduction please complete an application form using the links below. For free information or advice contact the team on 0121 704 8175.

Expanded Retail Discount - updated Monday 7 June 2021

In the Chancellor’s budget on 3 March 2021 it was announced that the Government would provide additional business rates support for eligible retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England occupying a qualifying property.

The Expanded Retail Discount was extended for 3 months for eligible properties at 100% relief (uncapped) for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Following this a further relief scheme was determined from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022. The Expanded Retail Discount will apply at 66% relief for eligible properties in the scheme, with a cash cap of £2m for businesses that were required to close as at 5 January 2021, and up to £105,000 for business permitted to open at that date.

The Nursery Discount 2021 was also extended for three months, at 100% (uncapped) for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 the further relief scheme for the Nursery Discount will be 66% relief for eligible properties, with a cash cap of £105,000.

We have now identified all businesses that we believe will qualify for the Expanded Retail Discount according to our records to date. An email or letter will be sent to you in the next few days explaining the criteria for this relief in more detail. 

Those businesses identified will be sent a business rates bill showing the uncapped relief awarded from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, then the additional relief of 66% (capped relief) from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022.  Your bill will detail what instalments need to be paid during 2021/22.  If you wish to refuse to receive the Expanded Retail Discount, please complete this form and email it to

Those businesses and other bodies forming part of a larger group will be sent a business rates bill for the financial year 2021/22 less the uncapped relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. You will not automatically be awarded the Expanded Retail Discount of 66% from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022. Your bill will detail the instalments you need to pay during 2021/22. However if you have more than one property and wish to apply for this relief as you have not exceeded the cap, please complete the enclosed form and email it to

The Government has issued guidance on the operation of the schemes:

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988).

Our policies for both Expanded Retail Discount and Nursery (Childcare) Discount can be found here:

Transitional relief

As property values often change between valuations, transitional arrangements are used to help phase the changes in.

After a valuation, the amount by which a bill can rise or decrease is limited. These limits continue to apply every year until the full amount is due (the rateable value times the multiplier).

Unoccupied properties

In general, for commercial properties, there will be no Business Rates to pay for the first 3 months a property is empty. Industrial buildings will not have to pay Business Rates for the first 6 months a property is empty. After the free period the full charge becomes payable.

Listed buildings and small properties (those with a rateable value of less than £2,900) pay no Business Rates until occupied again.

Partly occupied property relief

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, we have discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.

To apply you will need to supply us with:

  • a letter explaining the changes including the date of when your property became or will become partly occupied
  • a floor plan which identifies the unoccupied area

Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs

Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs can get an 80% set discount off their Business Rates.

We advise you to read our application guidance notes before applying.

In some circumstances, we may apply discretionary rate relief to reduce the bill further.

Discretionary relief is awarded to charities and not for profit organisations who are most in need, for example organisations who have limited funds who work with the Council to support local residents.

You will need to complete an application form and supply your most recent financial accounts for the last 2 years.

There are two decision making sessions a year, in September and March.

We advise you to read our discretionary rate relief policy before applying.

Rural rate relief areas

If your business property is in a designated rural area (which has no more than 3,000 residents) you may be able to claim a rural rate discount of 50%, increasing to 100% with effect from 1 April 2017.

To qualify you must meet 1 of the following criteria:

  • run the only village store, or the only post office, or a food store, with a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • run the only pub, or the only petrol station, with a rateable value of less than £12,500
  • run any other business of benefit to the community and council tax payers (as decided by us), with a rateable value of less than £16,500. (Discount up to 100% in this case).

You can apply for either:

Hardship relief

We may be able to provide hardship relief if you are experiencing hardship and your business is of importance to the local community.

Small business relief

You can get small business rate relief if you only use one property, or, additional properties have a rateable value of less than £2,899 and do not exceed £20,000 when added together.

With effect from 1April 2017 eligible businesses with rateable values of below £12,000 will get 100% rate relief on their liability. This relief will decrease on a sliding scale for rateable values over £12,000 up to £15,000.

From 1 April 2017 ratepayers who are not entitled to another mandatory relief or are liable for Unoccupied Property Rates and occupy a property with rateable value of less than £51,000 will have their bill calculated using Small Business Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier rather than the National Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier.

For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.