News & insight

Business rates system responds to Covid-19

Matthew Midwinter / 19 Mar, 20

Updated 19th March 2020

The Government has announced the following expanded Retail Discount relief for 2020/21:

– There will be 100% discount for business rates payments in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors


– Retail properties are those being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public such as shops, post offices, car show rooms, petrol stations, garden centres and art galleries

– Retail also includes the provision of services to members of the public such as hair & beauty services, travel agents, dry cleaners, funeral directors, tool hire and car hire

– Retail also includes properties used for the sale of food and drink to visiting members of the public such as restaurants, take aways, coffee shops, Pubs and bars


-Leisure properties include cinemas, live music venues, nightclubs, theatres, gyms, sports & leisure facilities, public halls, clubhouses and tourist attractions.


 – Hospitality sector includes hotels, guest houses, holiday homes and caravan parks

However, there are currently exclusions to this list that include:

– Financial services – banks, building societies, betting shops, pawn brokers, bureaux de change

– Medical services – doctors, dentists, vets

– Professional services – chartered surveyors, solicitors, accountants, insurance, financial advisors

– Casinos and gambling clubs

There are two provisos to the above statement:

– The UK Government must seek approval from EU that normal state aid rules will not apply.  This is currently a maximum  of Euros 200,000.

– The property must be occupied and not vacant.

For further advice about business rates, and how the above regulations may affect you and your business, please contact a member of our dedicated Business Rates Team below

18th March 2020

Following the recent Budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has announced a number of changes in response to Covid-19. He has promised to provide £20bn business rates support and grant funding to allow most-affected firms to manage their cash flow through this period by:

• Granting all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months.

As well as the rates holiday there is more good news for businesses with the chancellor announcing

• Increasing the grant to businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief from £3,000 to £10,000 and
• Providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with an RV over £15,000 and below £51,000.

We are awaiting further guidance as to which businesses fit into the retail, hospitality and leisure categories and will provide further guidance when this is available. As with the existing Retail Discount, it will only apply to occupied properties and will not affect any assessment currently subject to an empty rate.

The grants are to be administered by Local Councils and the government is yet to provide guidance on the criteria to qualify for the grants and how to apply.

The scheme is being notified to the EU Commission today and, if accepted, will be exempt from the State Aid rules, however this is not yet confirmed

Our rating experts our monitoring the current changes and will be providing regular updates to help minimise your liability at this difficult time.

If you would like to speak to one of the team then please contact them directly below.

London & South: Contact Matthew Midwinter

Yorkshire & Midlands: Contact Rob Cohen

North East: Contact Richard Farr 

Topics: News

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