In response to the Coronavirus the Government has announced that it will increase the retail discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors.

March 2020 budget - Support for businesses affected by the Covid-19 virus.

The Government announced in the Budget on 29th October 2018 that it will provide a Business Rates Relief Scheme to apply in the year 2019-20 and 2020-21. In response to the Coronavirus, in the Budget on 11th March the Government announced that it would increase the discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors.

Retail Discount will be awarded automatically where the qualifying criteria are clearly satisfied, and where not, application forms will be issued.

The following information, as published by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, explains the qualifying criteria for Retail Discount.

Full details are published in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - Business Rates Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21: Coronavirus Response – Local Authority Guidance website at GOV.UK - Business rates: expanded retail discount - guidance

Business Rates - Retail Discount Qualifying Properties

ALL of the following will receive 100% occupied relief for all 'occupied' premises.

Premises that are eligible:

Occupied premises used wholly (100%) or mainly (at least 51%) as:

a. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues, 

b. for assembly and leisure; or 

c. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation. 

11.

We consider shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues to mean: 

i. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public: 

  • Shops (such as: florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, 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) 

6.

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

  • Hair and beauty services (such as: hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc) 
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting 
  • Travel agents 
  • Ticket offices e.g. for theatre 
  • Dry cleaners 
  •  Launderettes 
  • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair 
  • Funeral directors 
  • Photo processing 
  • Tool hire 
  • Car hire 
  • Employment agencies 
  • Estate agents and letting agents 
  • Betting shops

iii. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public: 

  • Restaurants 
  • Takeaways 
  • Sandwich shops 
  • Coffee shops 
  • Pubs 
  • Bars 

iv. Hereditaments which are being used as cinemas 

v. 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). 

7.

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 2003.2 

12.

We consider assembly and leisure to mean: 

i. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of sport, leisure and facilities to visiting members of the public (including for the viewing of such activities). 

  • Sports grounds and clubs 
  • Museums and art galleries 
  • Nightclubs 
  • Sport and leisure facilities 
  • Stately homes and historic houses 
  • Theatres 
  • Tourist attractions 
  • Gyms 
  • Wellness centres, spas, massage parlours 
  • Casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls 

ii. Hereditaments that are being used for the assembly of visiting members of the public. 

  • Public halls 
  • Clubhouses, clubs and institutions 

13.

We consider hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation to mean: 

i. Hereditaments where the non-domestic part is being used for the provision of living accommodation as a business: 

  • Hotels, Guest and Boarding Houses 
  • Holiday homes 
  • Caravan parks and sites

Premises which WILL NOT receive relief:

  • Financial services
  • banks,
  • building societies,
  • cash points,
  • bureaux de change,
  • payday lenders,
  • Medical services
  • Vets
  • Dentists
  • Doctors
  • Osteopaths
  • chiropractors
  • Professional services
  • Solicitors
  • Accountants
  • Insurance agents/ financial advisers
  • Post office sorting offices