Other reliefs

Hardship relief

The council, at its discretion, can award up to 100% relief from business rates to ratepayers who are experiencing hardship. However, as the council funds a significant part of this relief itself, cases will only be considered if they are in the interest of the community.

In order for the council to consider granting hardship relief, an application must be made in writing, including copies of fully audited accounts.

How the council will assess your application:

  • Each case will be considered on its own merits.
  • Reduction of rates on the grounds of hardship is the exception rather than the rule.
  • The test of 'hardship' is not confined strictly to financial hardship - all relevant factors affecting the ability of a business to meet its liability for rates are taken into account.
  • The 'interests' of the council tax payers in the area may go wider than direct financial interests. For example the case for a reduction of rates may still outweigh the costs to the council tax payer if employment prospects in the area would be worsened by a company going out of business, or the amenities of the area might be reduced if it went out of business even though granting rate relief would have an adverse effect on the financial interests of council tax payers.

When making your written application make sure you enclose all the documents we need.

If your business is open:

  • Your current and previous two years audited accounts
  • Your last three months bank statements
  • Details of your income and expenditure over the last 3 months if not covered in your audited accounts

If your business is closed:

  • Your last three months bank statements
  • Copies of your pay slips

Return your completed application together with a covering letter to the business rates section Town Hall, Ripley, Derbyshire DE5 3BT

If you wish to discuss your application before submission please contact us on 01773 841444 or email nndr@ambervalley.gov.uk

Rate relief on telecom fibre optics

The government will provide a new 100% business rates relief for new full-fibre infrastructure for a five year period from 1 April 2017 to support the rollout of new full-fibre broadband infrastructure and future 5G communications to homes and businesses.

The necessary changes to primary legislation will be introduced as soon as that is possible and it is anticipated that this will enable the relief to be backdated to April 2017. Therefore, no action is required yet by local authorities until the changes are made. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Valuation Office Agency will work with the telecoms sector and local government on implementing the relief and will publish guidance on how it will operate in due course.

Local newspapers

The Chancellor announced at the budget that the government will introduce a £1,500 business rates discount for office space occupied by local newspapers, up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits, for 2 years from 1 April 2017. The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Public toilets

The government intends to introduce the necessary legislation to enable local authorities to use their existing discretionary relief powers to support publicly owned public toilets from 1 April 2018.

Supporting small businesses

In the spring budget the Chancellor announced that a scheme of relief would be made available to those ratepayers facing large increases as a result of the loss of small business or rural rate relief.

The transitional relief scheme does not provide support in respect of changes in reliefs. Therefore, those ratepayers who are losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief may be facing very large percentage increases in bills from 1 April 2017.

The supporting small businesses relief will help those ratepayers who as a result of the change in their rateable value at the revaluation are losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief and, as a result, are facing large increases in their bills. To support these ratepayers, the supporting small businesses relief will ensure that the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers is limited to the greater of a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month). This cash minimum increase ensures that those ratepayers currently paying nothing or very small amounts are brought into paying something. The matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief schemes.

Discretionary relief scheme

At the spring budget the government announced the establishment of a £300m discretionary fund over four years from 2017-18 to support those businesses that face the steepest increases in their business rates bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation. The intention is that every billing authority in England will be provided with a share of the £300m to support their local businesses.

Billing authorities will be expected to use their share of the funding to develop their own discretionary relief schemes to deliver targeted support to the most hard-pressed ratepayers. The £300m will cover the four years from 2017/18.

  • £175m in 2017/18
  • £85m in 2018/19
  • £35m in 2019/20
  • £5m in 2020/21

View the 2017/18 scheme determined by cabinet on 18 October 2017.

Support for pubs

The government has also announced a new relief scheme for pubs that have a rateable value of below £100,000. Under the scheme, eligible pubs will receive a £1000 discount on their bill. DCLG plans to publish a consultation on the operation of the relief scheme for pubs shortly. The relief will have effect for 2017/18.

Local authorities will be expected to use their discretionary relief powers (under section 57 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as amended) to grant this new relief for pubs in line with the relevant eligibility criteria. They will be compensated for the cost of granting the relief through a Section 31 grant from the government. No new legislation will be required to deliver the scheme.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841444 or email nndr@ambervalley.gov.uk