Decision details

Extended business rate reliefs and support to businesses as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus - APR20/CMDN/95

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Governance

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


With the approval of the Chairman of Growth, Environment, and Resources Committee, the urgency procedure, special urgency procedure, and waiver of call-in procedure have been invoked to suspend the requirement to publish notice of the decision for 28 days, to suspend the requirement to publish the decision for five days, and to subject the decision to a three day call-in period. These procedures have been invoked to ensure that relief is provided to business in line with Government guidance to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 as soon as possible.

The Cabinet Member:

1. Approved the payment of the various reliefs and grants as requested by government and as set out by the full guidance provided by government departments including the additional categories as referred to in paragraphs 7.4 to 7.5 under the councils discretionary powers;

2. Instructed officers to ensure that the reliefs and payments are processed in accordance with the agreed schemes for the qualifying properties and rebilling takes place at the earliest opportunity and that any further categories as advised by government to be included within the scheme are also processed at the earliest opportunity;

Reasons for the decision:

When the council’s budget was set on 6th of March 2020 approval was given to provide updated levels of business rate relief to certain categories of properties. For 2020/21 only the changes increased the retail discount from one-third to 50 per cent, and extended that discount to cinemas and music venues, the maximum RV remained at £51,000 for these reliefs. In addition the government extended the duration of the local newspapers office space discount until 2025, and introduced an additional discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 of £1,000 in 2020/21. All reliefs were subject to state aid rules.


Due to the coronavirus outbreak the government have over the last few days and weeks commencing with the chancellors budget on 11th March with further updates more recently made significant changes to the level of support they are going to provide to business within certain sectors.


As the major reliefs are again for one year only the Government is not changing the primary legislation covering the reliefs available to properties. Instead the Government will, in line with the eligibility criteria set out in the guidance, reimburse local authorities that use their discretionary relief powers, under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (as amended) to grant relief. The reimbursement to authorities will be provided by payments to be credited to the general fund with grants under section 31 of the Local government Act 2003.


The effect of the various announcements has resulted in the following additions to reliefs already approved for 2020/21

Alternative options considered:

None have been considered as there are no other realistic options to deal with this issue.

Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Background Documents:


Urgent item?: Yes

Publication date: 02/04/2020

Date of decision: 02/04/2020

Accompanying Documents: