Business rates - Spring 2017 budget changes

On the 8 March 2017 the Chancellor announced proposals for additional schemes of relief that will be made available (subject to qualifying criteria) to help businesses and pubs to manage the impact of large increases in the 2017 revaluations.

Supporting small businesses relief

Because of the changes made to rateable values in the revaluation, some ratepayers have lost some or all of their Small Business or Rural Rate Relief. This has resulted in some businesses experiencing large increases in their bills. To support these businesses, the new Supporting Small Business Relief ensures that the increase will be limited to £600 per year.

£1,000 pub support relief

This is a new relief scheme for pubs that have a rateable value under £100,000. This scheme means that eligible pubs will receive a £1,000 discount on their bill. The scheme started start on the 1 April 2017 and will runs for two years, ending 31 March 2019. The Government's policy intention is that eligible pubs should:

  • be open to the general public
  • allow free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided
  • allow drinking without food to be consumed
  • permit drinks to be purchased at a bar

For these purposes, it should exclude:

  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • nightclubs
  • hotels
  • snack bars
  • guesthouses
  • boarding houses
  • sporting venues
  • music venues
  • festival sites
  • theatres
  • museums
  • exhibition halls
  • cinemas
  • concert halls
  • casinos

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Awards of the relief must comply on EU law on State Aid such that the award will not exceed the 200,000 euros that a business can receive under the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013.

Discretionary relief scheme

The government has set up a £300m discretionary fund to support those businesses facing the steepest increases in their business rates as a result of the revaluation. This will be available from the 1 April 2017 for four years. The idea is that every billing authority in England will be provided with a share of this fund which authorities will use in order to develop their own discretionary relief schemes so they can deliver targeted support.

All eligible businesses were written to in November 2017.