Low take-up​ for rate ‘relief’

More than 600 businesses in Bath and North East Somerset are in line for business rate awards ranging from £25 to £9,656 – but it seems they are slow coming forward to claim it.

Bath & North East Somerset Council has identified 625 businesses which qualify for revaluation support in 2017/18 to help business following last year’s revaluation by the national Valuation Office, which resulted in a number of ratepayers facing higher business rates bills.visitbath.co

In 2017 the Government decided in its spring budget to offer further help to these businesses by allocating some additional funding to local authorities so they could use the money to award business rates relief under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

A report by Bath & North East Somerset Council says the council awarded this relief as a percentage of the ratepayers’ 2017/18 liability based on qualifying criteria but only about 30% of businesses applied for the relief.

Councillor Charles Gerrish (Conservative, Keynsham North), cabinet member for finance and efficiency, said: “We want to get this government money to the qualifying rate-payers but we have had a low take-up despite contacting all 625 businesses about claiming for the award. The awards for businesses will range from more than £25 to the highest which is £9,656.54 based on qualifying criteria.”

To help get the award to businesses an automatic payment with a letter will go to each business asking the company to advise the council if the total amount of discretionary state aid they have received over the last three financial years exceeds the de minimis limit of 200,000 euros.

As the scheme is only open to small and medium-sized enterprises it is highly unlikely that any ratepayers will have exceeded that limit.

It has also been agreed to set the amount of revaluation support relief to be awarded in respect of 2018/19 at 48.5% of the amount awarded in respect of 2017/18; allow officers to award relief for public houses in respect of 2018/19 and

remove some obsolete references to re-occupation relief, which can no longer be awarded.


B&NES qualifying criteria for relief:

  • The property must have a rateable value below £200,000 as at 01.04.2017
  • There must have been an increase in rateable value of more than 12.5% due to the revaluation
  • The ratepayer must have seen an increase in their bill because of the revaluation
  • The ratepayer must be a small or medium enterprise

In addition to the qualifying criteria these rules apply;

  • Properties which are empty are excluded from the scheme whilst empty
  • Ratepayers who became liable for any period after 01/04/2017 are excluded
  • Ratepayers who would qualify for £25 or less are excluded
  • Retrospective changes in rateable value are ignored for the purpose of calculating this relief.