Rates relief for businesses during COVID-19

A small business owner keeps his shop open thanks to rates relief

The government announced various 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 in 2022/23?

For 2022/23, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme applies to most:

  • shops
  • restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments (eg pubs)
  • cinemas and live music venues
  • hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation

Premises used for financial, professional and medical services are excluded, as are premises that are not open to the public.

The scheme offers a 50% discount, up to a limit of £110,000 per business. The limit applies across all the premises owned by a business or group of businesses.

You can check your eligibility for the discount with your local authority and in more detailed government guidance.

How did the business rates retail discount work in 2020/21 and 2021/22?

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 fell to 66%.

There was 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 qualified for an equivalent Nursery Discount.

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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.

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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