COVID-19 business rates relief

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You will no doubt have heard various announcements by the Government in connection with assistance to non-domestic premises occupiers – including adjustments to business rates relief.

The types of businesses that are eligible are changing virtually on a daily basis. As such, we thought it would be useful to give you an overview as it currently stands.

There are several types of relief available and the eligibility will depend on the type of use and whether or not the ratepayer is in occupation.

The widely publicised business rates relief is that which has already been afforded to the retail sector. Now, it has been expanded to include the leisure and hospitality sectors and is referred to as Expanded Retail Discount 2020-2021.

This relief will be available to all qualifying businesses, regardless of the size of property, and covers premises such as restaurants, public houses, gymnasiums, casinos, golf clubs and hotels. It also applies to various retail operations that offer services to visiting members of the public, such as hair and beauty salons, travel agents, dry cleaners, estate agents, letting agents and betting shops, among many others.

This business rates relief will run for a 12-month period, starting on 1st April 2020, and further information regarding qualifying businesses can be found here.

Business rates relief for statutory prohibition on use

Following announcements that came into force throughout the last few days, many businesses have been forced to close their shops and offices, as they are considered non-essential services. This is classified as a prohibition on use and should, in our opinion, therefore result in no business rates liability from the date of closure.

In the case of retail and leisure uses, this will add a few extra days for the period of March, where rates relief can be claimed prior to the expanded retail relief coming into force on 1st April.

In respect of offices or industrial units, these are not covered by the expanded retail relief. However, if you have been forced to close, you should be entitled to either 3 months empty business rates for offices, or 6 months empty business rates for industrial from the date from which closure happened. We recommend that you notify the local authority as soon as possible, providing the date of closure and claiming empty business rates relief.

Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund – BEIS Scheme

Grant funding is available through the BEIS scheme and all business occupiers that receive small business rates relief are eligible up to £10,000. All retail and leisure premises with a rateable value of under £51,000 are eligible for up to £25,000 (limited to £10,000 if the property has a rateable value under £15,000).

Further information regarding this can be found here and all enquiries should be made direct to the BEIS scheme at

You will appreciate that due to the nature of this crisis, announcements from the Government are arriving very frequently. We would, therefore, advise that you check the Government websites through the links provided above for any changes.

If you require any assistance or guidance on this newly announced relief, or for more information on KWB’s business rates services, please contact Martin Cook Head of KWB Rating Advisory on 0121 233 2330 or email