Rates relief for businesses during COVID-19

A small business owner turns the sign in the window as he opens his shop for the day

The government has announced some extra business rates reliefs and grants to help small businesses through the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. We answer your key questions

What businesses qualify for the business rates retail discount?

For 2020/21, the retail discount was extended to include hospitality and leisure businesses as well as retailers. For the period to 30 June 2021, this Expanded Retail Discount was set at 100%. From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the discount falls to 66%.

There is no limit to the rateable value of the premises, but the value of the discount is capped from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022. The maximum discount is £2 million for businesses that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, and £105,000 for other qualifying premises.

Nursery businesses also qualify for an equivalent Nursery Discount.

Are there any grants available?

Small business rate relief (SBRR) continues to be available for businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000. The relief is 100% for businesses with a rateable value up to £12,000 and then tapers, falling to 0% for a rateable value of £15,000.

Other business rates reliefs – for example, rural rate relief for some rural businesses – also continue to be available.

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How do business rates relief and grants work?

Business rates are collected by your local authority.

You may find that they automatically give you relief, particularly if you have received business rates relief or grants in previous years.

If you think you are not being given the discounts you should be, contact your council. You should also contact the council if you expect to have difficulty paying your business rates and want to claim hardship relief.

What about businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

These each have separate business rates and rate relief systems. The reliefs announced in the Budget only apply to England.

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