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A number of reductions, reliefs and exemptions from business rates are available. These include:

View our current Discretionary Rate Relief Policy [PDF, 0.2MB], that is used when determining some of the above reliefs.

Empty properties

Business rates are not payable for the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months for certain industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable in full unless the property is classed as exempt, for example:

Empty properties:

  • that are listed buildings or monuments

  • that are subject to a building preservation notice

  • with a rateable value of less than £2,900

  • that are legally prohibited from being occupied

  • that are vacant due to action taken by the Crown or any public or local authority

  • where the owner is subject to a bankruptcy order.

Empty properties whose owner is:

  • entitled to possession in his capacity as:

    • the personal representative of a deceased person

    • a trustee under a deed of arrangement

    • a liquidator under Section 112 or Section 145 of the Insolvency Act 1986

  • a company subject to a winding-up order under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily

  • a company in administration or subject to an administration order

Please email if you think an exemption applies to your property.

Extended retail rate relief for 2023/24

An outline of the scheme can be found on the Retail Discount Relief Guidance page.

The deadline for applications for the 2023/2024 liability year is 30 September 2024.

Extended retail rate relief for 2024/25

The government announced in the November 2023 Autumn statement that eligible ratepayers will continue to receive a discount of 75% on their business rates bills for the year 2024/25, up to a maximum of £110,000.

This relief will only apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties (subject to eligibility criteria) in 2024/25.

Relief will be provided until 31 March 2025 to ratepayers occupying eligible occupied retail, hospitality and leisure properties. Full details of the scheme can be found at 2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme.

The relief will be assessed and calculated on a daily basis. Any adjustment to your rate liability, such as vacating the property or changes to the rateable value, will mean the amount of relief awarded will also be adjusted.

If relief has already been awarded, it will show on your bill. You do not need to take any further action unless you believe you are not eligible to receive the relief, or you want to decline it.

  • Contact us if your property is not currently used for a purpose listed within the expanded scheme, or if its use changes

  • contact us if relief is not shown on your bill and you believe you are eligible

  • do not apply if the award will exceed the cash cap of £110,000 for all properties.

An outline of the scheme can be found on the Retail Discount Relief Guidance page.

Apply for Retail Discount Relief

Small business rate relief

From 1 April 2017 you can get small business rate relief if your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000 and you occupy only one property.

Small businesses with a rateable value of up to £12,000 will get 100% rate relief.

For small businesses with a rateable value of between £12,000 and £15,000, the rate of relief decreases gradually from 100% to 0%.

In addition, if the rateable value of your property is between £15,000 and £51,000 your bill will be calculated on the small business rate multiplier instead of the national multiplier. 

The application form includes a Guide to the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (2017). All applicants must meet the eligibility criteria set out in the application form.

Apply for Small Business Rate Relief

Supporting small business relief 2023

You can get supporting Small Business Relief from 1 April 2023 if both of the following apply:

  • your business property's bill is going up after the next revaluation on 1 April 2023

  • you'll lose some or all of your Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

If you're eligible, your bills will go up by no more than £600 for the 2023 to 2024 tax year. Your council will adjust your bill if you're eligible.

You do not need to apply, this relief will be automatically applied to relevant bills.

Charity and discretionary relief

Charities are entitled to 80% relief from the rates on property which is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. We can grant the additional 20% at our discretion.

We can also grant discretionary relief for a property if it is occupied by an organisation that is not set up or operated for profit - the amount granted will depend on individual circumstances.

Please email to apply for charity and discretionary relief.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC)

If you are registered with HM Revenue and Customs as a CASC, then you are entitled to 80% mandatory relief. See the CASC website for further information and to check if you can qualify as one.

Rural rate relief

You may be able to get rural rate relief if your business is in a designated rural area with a population below 3,000. To qualify you must be:

  • the only post office, general store or food shop in the town or village and have a rateable value of less than £8,500

  • the only public house or petrol station in the town or village and have a rateable value of less than £12,500.

Since 1 April 2017, 50% of this relief is provided as mandatory and a further 50% is granted through our discretionary powers, which is funded by the government.

From 1 April 2024 qualifying properties will receive 100% mandatory rural rate relief.

We may also give discretionary relief up to 100% to businesses where the property has a rateable value of less than £16,500. We will consider each application individually, taking into account the benefits to the local community and the interests of council taxpayers.

Please refer to this list and map  [PDF, 2.5MB]to check if your business is in a designated rural settlement.

Please email to apply for rural rate relief.

Partly occupied property relief

If a property is partly occupied for a short time, we can sometimes award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.

Please email to discuss claiming relief for partly occupied property.

Subsidy control

Providing discretionary relief to ratepayers is likely to amount to a subsidy. Any relief provided by local authorities will need to comply with the UK's domestic and international subsidy control obligations.

View further details on