Business rate relief schemes - Retail discount

Retail discount

Introduced in 2019, this relief provided a discount of one third of the Business Rates bill. Available to occupied retail properties with rateable values of less than £51,000.

In response to the covid-19 emergency the Government have announced that qualifying retail businesses will pay no Business rates for the year 2020/21.

In response to the continued covid-19 emergency the Government have announced that additional business rates support would be provided for eligible retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery business in England occupying a qualifying property and announced that for the year 2021/22:

  • The Expanded Retail Discount (2020/21) will be extended for three months for eligible properties, at 100% relief, uncapped, for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.
  • From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the Expanded Retail Discount would 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 would also be 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 Nursery Discount would apply at 66% relief for eligible properties, with a cash cap of £105,000.
  • For the Expanded Retail Discount 2021/22 and Nursery Discount 2021/22, businesses may choose to opt out of support by providing billing authorities notification of their request to refuse support, per eligible hereditament.

Please contact the Business Rates team on (01909) 533460 if you have not received the relief and believe that you are entitled to it.

The Government guidelines state that to be eligible for the discount the retail premises must be:

  • occupied (empty premises do not qualify)
  • have an occupied rates charge for the year (properties receiving 100% Small Business Rate Relief, for example, do not qualify)
  • be wholly, or mainly, used for retail purposes for visiting members of the public

Qualifying retail uses include:

  • shops
  • post offices
  • car showrooms
  • car hire premises
  • opticians
  • petrol stations
  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • Pubs
  • Bars
  • Garden centres
  • Markets
  • Hairdressers, beauty and tanning salons, nail bars
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting
  • Travel Agents
  • Dry cleaners
  • Cinemas (from 2020 only)
  • Live music venues (from 2020 only)
  • Leisure premises (gyms, museums, galleries, nightclubs etc… from 2020 only)
  • Hospitality premises (hotels and guesthouses etc… from 2020 only)

This is not an exhaustive list, please contact the Business Rates Unit if you are unsure whether your business will qualify for this discount.

Do all businesses qualify for relief?

No. The government has identified certain retail uses that do not qualify for the discount, Your premises will not get a discount if it’s being used for the following:

  • Financial services, such as banks, building societies, cash points
  • Individual cash points and retail units with only cash points in them
  • Bureaux de change
  • Payday lenders
  • Betting shops
  • Pawn brokers
  • Estate agents
  • Letting agents
  • Employment agencies
  • Dentists
  • Doctors
  • Osteopaths
  • Chiropractors
  • Vets
  • Solicitors
  • Accountants
  • Insurance agents
  • Financial advisers
  • Post Office sorting offices
  • Other properties that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public

State aid

Awards such as Retail Discount are required to comply with the EU law on State Aid. You are required to notify the Council if you have received any other de minimis State Aid and the award of aid in total exceeds €200,000 which has been granted over a 3 year period (comprising of 2020/21, 2019/20 and 2018/19). You must let the Business Rates Unit know if the award of retail discount means that your state aid exceeds €200,000.

Further information on state aid law can be found on the GOV.UK website.




Last Updated on Friday, May 21, 2021