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Discretionary Business Rates Relief - Consultation

Craven District Council's proposed discretionary relief scheme will assist approximately 240 businesses in the district. We now welcome opinion on the proposed scheme from both businesses and the general public.

Please click here to fill in the online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/businessratesrelief

Alternatively you can download a copy here word icon Discretionary Business Rates Relief Survey [74kb] and email it to comms@cravendc.gov.uk or pick up a copy at reception at the Craven District Council offices, and post it to Revenues & Benefits Consultation, Craven District Council, Belle Vue Square, Skipton, BD23 1FJ.

The consultation closes on October 31st, 2017.

The Valuation Office Agency has recently completed a revaluation of all Non Domestic properties and the new rateable values, based on rental values at 1 April 2015, are effective from 1 April 2017. The revaluation will affect the amount of business rates many businesses across the Craven District will have to pay.

In the Spring Budget the Government announced that funding for a number of different support schemes would be made available to mitigate the impact on businesses. These were:

  1. The Support for Pubs scheme will provide for a £1,000 discount for properties, with a rateable value under £100,000, in 2017/18
  2. The Supporting Small Businesses Relief (SSBR) scheme will support ratepayers that have lost some or all of their Small Business Rate relief or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the Rateable Value changes.

All ratepayers losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief will have the increase in their annual bill capped at £600 for 2017/18, with further increases staggered as far as 2021/22 for those facing the largest increases.

The Government made £300 million available nationally over four years, from 2017/18, to support those businesses that face the steepest increases in their business rates bills as a result of the revaluation. Craven's share of the £300 million is £166,000 in 2017/18, £81,000 in 2018/19, £33,000 in 2019/20 and £5,000 in 2020/21.

The Government intends councils to use their existing discretionary powers to award this relief which should be used to support smaller ratepayers who are facing the largest increases in their bills following the 2017 revaluation and those also considered the most hard pressed.

Below is Craven District Council's proposed discretionary relief scheme which will assist approximately 240 businesses in the district. We now welcome opinion on the proposed scheme from both businesses and the general public.

Craven District Council Business Rates Revaluation Relief Proposed Scheme

Craven DC has agreed to award an additional amount of rate relief to those smaller organisations that are facing an increase in the business rates they have to pay because of the revaluation. Initially for one year from 1 April 2017, but to be extended further on a pro rata basis linked to reducing Government funding to 2020/2021.

The Government have made it clear that any relief awarded should only support smaller ratepayers who are facing an increase in their bills following the 2017 revaluation.

Scheme Design Principles

Administration of discretionary schemes can be difficult so keeping the scheme simple will minimise the administrative burden on Craven District Council whilst also making it easy to understand for ratepayers.           

  • There is a national transitional relief scheme which already provides some protection for ratepayers having increases in rates payable depending on the size of their property. Three bands are used to do this, small, medium and large.
  • It is proposed to allow relief to those in the small and medium bands as 98% of properties are within these 2 bands, and on the basis that business with large properties are better placed to absorb any steep rise in rates. This means that relief will only be available to those with a rateable value of up to £100,000 which also matches the Governments ambition that relief is only available to smaller ratepayers.    
  • All national, statutory reliefs and exemptions will be applied before any calculation for Discretionary Rate Relief can be considered.   
  • All other relief schemes, including the recently announced additional small business relief and public house relief must be deducted, before applying the percentage reduction. This will maximise the funding available.  
  • Reductions under this scheme will not be granted to ratepayers who have not applied for all other available relief e.g. small business rate relief.   
  • Relief under this scheme will be automatically identified and applied to accounts based on the information held on the Non Domestic rating database. It is possible that some eligible ratepayers will not be correctly identified so applications will be accepted from those who do not have the relief automatically applied and are found to satisfy the conditions of the scheme.
  • The Chief Finance Officer will authorise the amendment of award limits (in year; and for each new financial year) to ensure the total relief awarded does not exceed Government funding.   

The Local Scheme

  • Eligible ratepayers are defined as having:         

a) a maximum 2017 rateable value of £100,000 and   

b) had an increase of at least £150 in the annual occupied rate liability of the property based on the 2017 revaluation or any increase if in receipt of discretionary charity relief.    

  • In 2017/18, the scheme will award all eligible ratepayers 100% of the increase in Non-Domestic Rates due to the revaluation from 2016 to 2017 to a maximum amount of £1,000. Eligible ratepayers who have an increase in rates exceeding £1,000 will receive relief of £1,000. The award is applied to the account and calculated based on the net amount of rates charged after all national, statutory reliefs and exemptions have been applied.          
  • Relief under this scheme will follow the property, i.e. new business will receive relief if they take on a qualifying property part way through the year. Relief will also be adjusted if the amount payable changes.   
  • Expenditure under this relief scheme will not exceed the maximum grant allocated by Central Government for each year .
  • 15% of the grant has been allocated for:

Eligible ratepayers that are run entirely by volunteers and have a discretionary charitable relief. Such charitable organisations are considered financially hard pressed and will be awarded the appropriate amount to top up their existing reliefs to 100% from 90% (80% mandatory and 10% discretionary relief).            
and
Eligible ratepayers, who have not been awarded £1,000 under the pub relief scheme or received the Supporting Small Businesses Relief (SSBR) scheme and have seen a reduction in their rural rate relief due to the 2017 revaluation will be awarded the lower of :

a) a maximum of £1,000 or            
b) equivalent amount to the aggregate reduction in rural relief and change in rateable value if less than £1,000.    

  • A provision of 15% of the grant will be available for applications (made via the official Craven DC application form) from eligible ratepayers who: 

a) haven't been automatically identified as an eligible ratepayer and satisfy the conditions of the scheme, or   
b) whose award does not cover 100% of the increase in Non-Domestic Rates due to the revaluation from 2016 to 2017 and can demonstrate that they are experiencing severe hardship as a result of 2017 revaluation for additional relief to be awarded.   
In addition to a) and b) above applications for additional relief to be awarded can be made by ineligible ratepayers with a maximum 2017 rateable value of up to £100,000 who can demonstrate that they are experiencing severe hardship as a result of 2017 revaluation           

Exclusions

  • Properties that are empty will not be eligible whilst empty as they do not add to the prosperity of the district or sustain employment for local people.      
  • Properties that have already been awarded £1,000 under the pub relief scheme or received the Supporting Small Businesses Relief (SSBR) relief are excluded from this scheme.        
  • Legislation prevents the award of any relief to properties occupied by Local or Precepting Authorities and State Schools. Craven DC, North Yorkshire County Council, Parish Councils, Police and Fire Services are ineligible.  
  • No relief can be awarded if it would mean an organisation exceeds the state aid de-minimus level (currently €200,000 over 3 years).           

Right to Appeal

There is no statutory right to appeal against a decision under Section 47, other than Judicial Review. An applicant may make a request for the decision maker to review a decision but only where either: -

  • Additional information that is relevant to the application and that was not available at the time the decision was made becomes available, or
  • There are good grounds to believe the application or supporting information was not interpreted correctly at the time the decision was taken.
  • A request for a review must be made within four weeks of notification of the decision and must set out the reasons for the request and any supporting information.