Business rates holiday

Businesses in England in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector will have a business rates holiday for the 2020/2021 tax year. 

To benefit from this relief, businesses must be in occupation of properties that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • estate agents, letting agents and bingo halls.
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises, and self-catering accommodation.

The list below gives a list of uses that the government considers eligible for this relief.

Nursery businesses that pay business rates in England will also receive a business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year. To qualify, the business must be a provider on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and be in occupation of a property used wholly or mainly for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. There will be no rateable value limit for this relief for nursery businesses and those that occupy more than one property will be entitled to relief for each of their eligible properties.

Businesses that the government considers not eligible for this relief include those that provide the following services to members of the public:

  • financial services (eg banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers)
  • medical services (eg vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • professional services (eg solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/financial advisers)
  • post office sorting offices.

There will be no rateable value limit on the relief. Ratepayers that occupy more than one property will be entitled to relief for each of their eligible properties. 

Each local authority (LA) will adopt their own local scheme and base their decisions to grant relief via their discretionary powers. The relief for businesses that LAs determine are eligible will be for 100% of their 2020/21 non-domestic rates bill for the occupied portion of their property. No relief will be available for the time when the property is unoccupied for the business purpose (eg if a shop is vacant for three months to March 2021, the 100% relief will only apply to their rates bill for the period April to December 2020).

Businesses that are deemed to be eligible for this relief will be issued a revised bill for 2020/21 reflecting the discount.

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List of eligible businesses for Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21

Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues   

Premises used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public

  • Shops (eg florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off-licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets)
  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/display rooms (eg carpet shops, double-glazing, garage doors)
  • Car/caravan showrooms
  • Second-hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)

Premises used for the provision of services to visiting members of the public

  • Hair and beauty services (eg hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops)
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Ticket offices eg for theatre
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire
  • Employment agencies
  • Estate agents and letting agents
  • Betting shops

Premises used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public

  • Restaurants
  • Takeaways
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Bars

Premises used as cinemas and live music venues

Public assembly and leisure venues      

Premises used for the provision of sport, leisure and facilities to visiting members of the public (including for the viewing of such activities)

  • Sports grounds and clubs
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Nightclubs
  • Sport and leisure facilities
  • Stately homes and historic houses
  • Theatres
  • Tourist attractions
  • Gyms
  • Wellness centres, spas, massage parlours
  • Casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls

 Premises used for the assembly of visiting members of the public

  •  Public halls
  • Clubhouses, clubs and institutions

Hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation   

Premises where the non-domestic part is being used for the provision of living accommodation as a business

  • Hotels, guest and boarding houses
  • Holiday homes
  • Caravan parks and sites

As per government guidance, the above list is not exhaustive as it would be impossible to list the many and varied uses that exist within the qualifying purposes. There will also be mixed uses. However, this will be used as a guide by LAs to determine the types of uses that the government considers for this purpose to be eligible for relief. LAs will be expected to determine for themselves whether particular properties not listed are broadly similar in nature to those above and, if so, to consider them eligible for the relief. Conversely, properties that are not broadly similar in nature to those listed above will not be eligible for the relief.        

The full expanded guidance can be found here.

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Grants

Local authorities (LAs) are providing cash grants for small businesses as well as businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. LAs will be responsible for delivering the funding to eligible businesses. You should refer to your local authority.

There are two grant funding schemes through which this will be delivered: 

  • the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)
  • the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLG).

Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property. 

Businesses should contact their relevant LA directly for any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants. 

A large number of our members have highlighted that clients have received the grants from their LA. As each LA will be responsible for the distribution of these grants, it would be advisable to get in touch with yours at the soonest to claim the grant. 

Rating list changes

In cases where it was clear to the LA on 11 March 2020 that the rating list was inaccurate on that date, LAs may withhold the grant and/or award the grant based on their view of who would have been entitled to the grant had the list been accurate. This is entirely at the discretion of the LA and only intended to prevent manifest errors. Where the LA chooses to use this discretion then landlords and managing agents are urged to support the LA in identifying quickly the correct ratepayers.

Post-event assurance

Post payment, the Government Grants Management Function and Counter Fraud Function will support LAs to carry out post-event assurance work to identify high-risk payments.

Monitoring and reporting requirements 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will undertake regular data collection exercises and LAs, as in the usual process, will retain the necessary data on the awards provided. The data will include:

  • numbers of businesses eligible per scheme
  • number of payments being processed and value per scheme
  • number of actual payments and value per scheme.

Further guidance is expected to support this process.

State aid

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Nonetheless, under the Withdrawal Agreement the State Aid rules continue to apply during the transition period, subject to regulation by the EU Commission, placing a limit of maximum €800,000 that can be received in state aid by a company. 

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Summary of available grants

 

Scheme 

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLG)
Available to 

 

 

 

All businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system Businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 

How much? 

 

 

£10,000 

 

£10,000 for premises with a rateable value of up to £15,000  
   

£25,000 for premises with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 

 

Eligibility criteria 
  Premises that on 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the business rate Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (including those with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 that receive tapered relief)  Premises that on 11 March 2020 had a rateable value of less than £51,000 and would have been eligible for a discount under the business rates Expanded Retail Discount Scheme 
 

Premises that on 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the rural rate relief scheme 

 

 
Exclusions 

 

 

Premises that were not eligible for percentage SBRR relief (including those eligible for the Small Business Rate Multiplier)  Premises with a rateable value of over £51,000 
  Premises occupied for personal uses, eg private stables and loose boxes, beach huts and moorings  Premises occupied for personal uses, eg private stables and loose boxes, beach huts and moorings 
  Car parks and parking spaces  Car parks and parking spaces 

 

 

Businesses that as of 11 March were in liquation or were dissolved  Businesses that as of 11 March were in liquation or were dissolved 

 

 

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The government has confirmed that these grants are taxable as income. The business can then claim tax relief on the expenditure supported by the grant.

The full guidance can be found here.

The additional support available for businesses from Business Wales is available here.  

The additional support from the Scottish government is available here