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Retail relief 2019-20 and 2020-21

In the Autumn Budget 2018 the Government introduced a new Retail Relief which will be available for 2 years: 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments with a rateable value of less than £51,000 , that are wholly of mainly being used as shops, restaurants, café’s and drinking establishments.


The Government consider shops, restaurants, café’s and drinking establishments to mean:

  • Shops (such as florists, bakers, butchers, off licence, stationers, jewellers, chemists, hardware stores, supermarkets etc)
  • Charity Shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/ display rooms (such as carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
  • Car / Caravan show rooms
  • Second hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol Stations
  • Garden centres
  • Art Galleries (where art is for sale/hire)

  • Hair and Beauty services (hair dressers, nail bars, tanning shops etc)
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Ticket offices (for example, for a theatre)
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/TV/domestic appliance repairs
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • DVD/Video rentals
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire

In January 2020 the definition of retail premises was extended to include:

Hereditaments which are being used as cinemas

Hereditaments that are being used as live music venues:

  • live music venues are hereditaments wholly or mainly used for the performance of live music for the purpose of entertaining an audience. Hereditaments cannot be considered a live music venue for the purpose of business rates relief where a venue is wholly or mainly used as a nightclub or a theatre, for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).
  • Hereditaments can be a live music venue even if used for other activities, but only if those other activities (i) are merely ancillary or incidental to the performance of live music (e.g. the sale/supply of alcohol to audience members) or (ii) do not affect the fact that the primary activity for the premises is the performance of live music (e.g. because those other activities are insufficiently regular or frequent, such as a polling station or a fortnightly community event).
  • There may be circumstances in which it is difficult to tell whether an activity is a performance of live music or, instead, the playing of recorded music. Although we would expect this would be clear in most circumstances, guidance on this may be found in Chapter 16 of the statutory guidance issued in April 2018 under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.

To qualify the hereditament should be wholly or mainly used as shown above, this is a test on use rather than occupation. Therefore hereditaments which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for a qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief.

The list below shows some uses that are not considered to be retail use for the purposes of this relief.

1. Hereditaments that are used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • Financial services (banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)
  • Other services (estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)
  • Medical services (vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors etc)
  • Professional services (solicitors, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisors, tutors etc)
  • Post office sorting office

2. Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.

The amount of relief available for the 2019/20 financial year was 33% off the balance that you would otherwise have to pay. For the 2020/21 financial year this has been increased to a 50% reduction.

There is no relief available for properties with rateable value greater than or equal to £51,000 and empty properties do not qualify.

The eligibility for the relief and the relief itself is assessed and calculated on a daily basis. The retail relief will be applied against the net bill after all other reliefs have been applied.

You can have this relief on more than one property, subject to State Aid De Minimis Regulations.

Read more about retail relief here.

Read more about State Aid guidance here.

All eligible businesses will be automatically awarded Retail Relief. Your 2020/21 annual bill will not include Retail Relief so you will need to pay your first instalment as billed until you receive your revised bill in April.

If you have not received a revised rate demand notice but believe you are eligible or if you believe that by receiving this award you will be exceeding State Aid De Minimis Regulations, please contact the business rates team to review your business rates account.

Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Sector and Childcare Nurseries Business Rate Relief 2021/22

On 3rd March, the Government announced further Business Rates relief for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector and childcare nurseries with 100% relief to the end of June followed by a two thirds reduction to the end of the year, capped at £2m per business for properties which were required to be closed on 5 January 2021 and £105k per business for other eligible properties.  Due to the complexity of these announcements, our software provider will be working through the necessary changes to allow for revised annual bills to be produced for all eligible businesses.

All businesses that are entitled to receive the Retail relief from April onwards will be issued with an amended bill as soon as we are able to do so.

Should a business continue to pay as billed then an adjustment will be made on their new bill reflecting any payments made. However should they choose to wait for their amended bill before making payment then please be assured that no reminder notices will be issued whilst the 100% relief is in operation.

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