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Reliefs and Exemptions

Government Covid19 Response: Business rates measures

Local Restrictions Support Grant

In the event of a local lockdown forcing businesses to close Blaby District Council will be able to pay grants of up to £1,500 to affected businesses for every three week period they are forced to remain closed. Qualifying businesses will be announced in the formal lockdown guidance if and when this occurs.

Discretionary Grants Scheme Has Now Closed

Blaby was given £532,000 to support small businesses not eligible for any of the government’s Covid related grant schemes including the Small Business or Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Funds.

The scheme was open to applications from 10th June 2020 to 24th June 2020, all applications received have now been processed and successful applicants have received payments. All unsuccessful applicants have also been notified.

The priority target groups for the funding were:

  • small businesses in a shared office or workspace
  • regular market traders
  • bed and breakfast accommodation
  • properties occupied by a charity
  • businesses considered to be important to the local economy

Businesses needed to evidence:

  • a significant fall in income due to the Coronavirus crisis (bank statements, accounts)
  • relatively high ongoing fixed property related costs (proof rent and liability)
  • other supporting evidence (proof of the business, marketing materials


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Increased relief available

In response to COVID-19 the Government's Budget announced that it would provide additional business rate support to some small businesses. The Chancellor announced, as a temporary measure for 2020/21 that he would:

  • Expand the retail discount to include hospitality and leisure properties. This has further been expanded to include estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies, betting shops and bingo halls
  • Increase the level of the retail discount to 100 per cent for eligible retail businesses giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months
  • Increase the level of the pubs discount to £5000 for pubs with a rateable value less than £100,000
  • Ofsted registered Early Years providers will receive 100% relief for 2020/21

These changes will have effect for 2020/21.

Small business grant funding

This scheme closed to applications on 28th August 2020, any applications received after this date will not be processed 

The Government recognises that many small businesses pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief. To support those businesses, the Government will provide extra funding for Local authorities in England to help meet their ongoing business costs by:

  • providing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Expanded Retail Hospitality and Leisure Relief of £10,000
  • providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000


Further assistance for businesses at this time can be found on the Coronavirus Planning Ahead link at the bottom of the page. 

Reliefs and Exemptions

There are several ways you can get help with reducing the Business Rates that you pay:

  • Small Business Rate Relief
  • Unoccupied Property Relief
  • Partly Occupied Property Relief
  • Charity and Registered Community Sports Club Relief
  • Discretionary Relief for Non-Profit Making Organisations
  • Hardship Relief
  • Retail Discount Scheme
  • Pub Discount 2020/21


Certain types of unoccupied properties/owners are exempt from empty property rates. These include:

  • Nationally listed buildings
  • Properties with a rateable value of less than £2,900
  • Companies in Liquidation or Administration
  • Properties which cannot be occupied by law
  • Charity and Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) Registered

To claim unoccupied property relief, you must contact us as soon as the property becomes vacant.

Retail Discount Scheme

In the 2018 budget, the Government announced the launch of the business rates Retail Discount Scheme. This delivers a one-third discount off business rate bills for eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 for 2019/20 this has been increased to 50% for 2020/21. Eligible businesses will be invited to apply.

Small Business Rate Relief

Some small businesses can get relief to help them reduce the number of rates they need to pay. To qualify a business must:

  • Occupy one business property in England with a rateable value below £15,000
  • Occupy one business property with a rateable value below £15,000, together with others whose rateable values are below £2,900, and when added together, the total rateable value does not exceed £20,000
  • All rate bills for businesses with rateable values below £51,000 will be calculated using the lower multiplier irrespective of how many properties they occupy

Businesses with rateable values below £12,000 will have 100% relief. Rateable values between £12,000 and £15,000 will receive a percentage reduction on a sliding scale of between 0 and 100%.

Businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief will be allowed to keep that relief for 12 months.

If you are receiving relief and continue to be eligible you will not need to reapply for the relief annually.

You can contact us or fill in the Small Business Rate Relief Application to apply for rates relief.

Unoccupied Property Rating

When a property first becomes empty, there will be a rates free period of six months for industrial assessments and three months for all other properties. After this period has expired we will charge rates at 100%.

A property is only classed as unoccupied when all the items have been removed (except for fixtures and fittings). If a property is being used for storage purposes then full Business Rates must be paid.

If a property has been empty for more than three/six months before it is purchased or leased, then empty property rates will apply immediately from the date the property is purchased or leased.

Charity and Registered Community Amateur Sports Club Relief

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the Charity or Club and is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes or as a Registered Community Amateur Sports Club. We have the discretion to give further relief on the remaining 20%. To apply, please complete the Charitable CASC Relief Application.

Discretionary relief

We have the discretion to apply relief to properties in the following circumstances:

  • Properties that are partly occupied for a short time. This will require you to submit a plan of the premises and an inspection will be carried out
  • To non-profit making organisations. You can apply for this by filling in the Discretionary Relief Application form
  • For businesses experiencing hardship. This is given in exceptional circumstances and can be applied for by filling in the Hardship Relief Application form

Supporting Small businesses

Relief is available to those ratepayers facing large increases as a result of the loss of small business or rural rate relief in the 2017 revaluation. If you qualify for this relief it has automatically been awarded to your account. To support these ratepayers annual increases will be limited to the greater of:

  • Cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month)
  • The matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme

Blaby District Council has also adopted a local scheme to limit the increase in bills from the revaluation of 2017/2018, this relief will run until financial year 2020/2021. This relief has been distributed to eligible ratepayers.

If you qualify for any of the relief above it has automatically been awarded to your account. If you are not in receipt of this relief and believe you qualify please contact us.

Pub Discount

In January 2020 Government announced a £1,000 business rate discount for public houses with a rateable value of less than £100,000 for one year from 1st April 2020. This relief will be applied automatically to eligible accounts.

Last updated 29 September 2020
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