Business Rates Reductions


Business rates - coronavirus information

Here is the latest information about support announced by Government affecting business rates.

We will try to keep this page updates as announcements are made.  Please check here rather than calling where possible as we are experiencing high volume of calls.

Annual business rate bills had already been prepared a the time of the budget announcement.  Where applicable, we will re-issue bills to incorporate the changes.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been working closely with representatives of local government and the software providers, and we expect to be able to include the extended relief in revised bills shortly.

We are currently experiencing high volumes of calls and correspondence due to the issue of annual business rates bills and further announcements from the Chancellor regarding additional business rates support.

We will issue amended bills and distribute grants to all customers affected by these changes as quickly as we can.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Fund

In response to coronavirus, the Government announced there would be support for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant businesses in England, properties that on 11 March 2020 that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount Scheme on that date with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property:

  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, in line with the eligibility criteria.

  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,001 and less than £50,999 will receive a grant of £25,000, in line with the eligibility criteria

 Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Details of your rateable value are contained on your business rates bill, or can be found on GOV.UK.

 You can apply using our Application for support for business affected by Covid-19

Exclusions to Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

  •  Properties occupied for personal uses. Examples of where there may be personal use include   private stables and loose boxes, beach huts and moorings.
  • Car parks and parking spaces.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, businesses which as of the 11 March were in liquidation or were dissolved will not be eligible.

  • Hereditaments with a rateable value of over £51,000.

We will contact ratepayers that we believe to be eligible shortly and will be working to distribute grants as swiftly as possible.

Guidance on this grant was published 24 March 2020 by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. To view this guidance, visit GOV.UK

Business Rates Support Grant - £10,000 for small businesses

In response to coronavirus, the Government announced there would be support for small businesses. This includes the Small Business Grant, for businesses in England receiving small business rates relief.

Under the Small Business Grant Fund all businesses in England receiving small business rates relief with a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, if eligible.  Properties that are charged using the small business rate multiplier and receive no percentage discount will not get a grant under the Small Business Rate Grant Fund. Details of your small business rates relief award can be found on your bill.

If you do not currently receive small business rates relief and think you may be eligible, the criteria is:

  • Your rateable value on your main property is below £15,000
  • If you occupy other rateable properties, their value must be below £2,899, and the combined value of all your rateable properties must be below £20,000. 

            Application for small business rate relief

Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Details of your rateable value are contained on your business rates bill, or can be found on GOV.UK.

To apply go to the Do it Online tab above.

Exclusions to Small Business Grant Fund

  • Properties occupied for personal uses. Examples of where there may be personal use include private stables and loose boxes, beach huts and moorings.
  • Car parks and parking spaces.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, businesses which as of the 11 March were in liquidation or were dissolved will not be eligible.
  • Properties not eligible for small business rates relief
  • Hereditaments with a rateable value of over £15,000

 We will contact ratepayers that we believe to be eligible shortly and will be working to distribute grants as swiftly as possible.

Grant Funding Schemes - Frequently Asked Questions

State Aid

The United Kingdom left the EU of 31 January 2020, nonetheless under the Withdrawal Agreement the State Aid rules continue to apply during a transition period, subject to regulation by the EU Commission.  The Council must be satisfied that all State Aid requirements have been fully met and complied with when making grant payments, including, where required, compliance with all relevant conditions of the EU State aid De-Minimis Regulation, the EU Commission Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak, the UK notified and approved Scheme under that Temporary Framework, and any relevant reporting requirements to the EU Commission.

Retail Discount - 100% Relief for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector

The government had announced that the existing one-third retail discount scheme would increase to 50% for 2020/21 and extend to include cinemas and music venues, where the rateable value is less than £51,000.

At Budget 2020, to support small businesses affected by COVID-19, it was announced that government would increase the scheme further to 100%, and be extended to include the hospitality and leisure sector.

On 17 March 2020, it was announced that the existing retail discount scheme would be extended to 100% and include all properties regardless of the rateable value.

Eligible ratepayers will be:

  • shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues:
  • for assembly and leisure; or
  • hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation. 

Premises which should not receive relief:

  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short term loan providers),
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors),
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, tutors),
  • Post office sorting offices,

In line with the legal restrictions in section 47(8A) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, billing authorities may not grant the discount to themselves, a precepting authority, or a functional body, within the meaning of the Greater London Authority Act 1999

Current status: The annual bills issued to eligible retailers are now incorrect. Affected business rates accounts will be reassessed and bills reissued as soon as we are able to. Direct debits will be cancelled.

Relief for Pubs - £5000 discount for eligible pubs (now redundant)

A £5,000 discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 was announced for the 2020/21 billing year.

However due to the extension of the retail discount scheme to include pubs, this relief is now redundant as pubs will be eligible for 100% discount.

Current status: We will issue updated bills as soon as we are able to and direct debits will be cancelled. 

More information about Budget 2020

Business Rates Nursery Discount - 100% for child care providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register

On 18 March 2020, in response to the coronavirus, the Government announced that many childcare providers would pay no business rates in 2020/21.

This relief will apply to hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which are subject to business rates in the year 2020/21. There will be no rateable value limit on the relief.

Current status: We are waiting for access to the Ofsted’s Early Years Register and then we will issue new bills and cancel direct debits.

For more information please see our FAQ's or  visit the GOV.UK website, section COVID-19 - support for businesses

Supporting small businesses

The supporting small businesses relief will help those ratepayers who as a result of the change in their rateable value at the revaluation are losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief and, as a result, are facing large increases in their bills. To support these ratepayers, the supporting small businesses relief will ensure that the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers is limited to the greater of:

  • a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month). This cash minimum increase ensures that those ratepayers currently paying nothing or very small amounts are brought into paying something or

  • the matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme.  

Mandatory Charity Relief

Section 43 of the Local Government Finance Act1988 allows mandatory relief (80%) to be granted on premises where the ratepayer is a charity or trustees for a charity and the premises are wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes and amended by the Local Government Act 2003 to include Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) which are registered with HMRC as a CASC. These organisations can receive the mandatory (80%) relief.

Apply for this relief

Charitable Discretionary Relief

Charities are entitled to relief from Business Rates on any non-domestic property, which is wholly, or mainly, used for charitable purposes.  Where 80% Mandatory Relief has been granted, the Council has the discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of a Charity’s bill.

Make an application for this relief

The Council has discretion to remit all or part of the bill for certain non-profit making bodies that are not entitled to Mandatory Relief.  The Council’s discretionary rate relief policy has been reviewed due to changes in legislation under the Local Government Finance Bill and the Business Rate Retention Scheme which comes into effect from 1st April 2013. 


Community amateur sports club

With effect from 1 April 2004 the Charity Commissioners now also recognise most community amateur sports clubs as charitable.  Sports clubs will need to be registered with the Inland Revenue and make their facilities available to all members of the public for improving health and fitness.  Online services and guidance can be viewed on the Charity Commission website .

Rural Rate Relief

Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief. The property must be the only general store, the only post office or a food shop and have a rateable value of less than £8,500, or the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property has to be occupied.

An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 50% of the full charge whilst the local authority also has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. The 2016 Autumn Statement confirmed the doubling of rural rate relief from 50% to 100% from 1 April 2017. Local authorities will be expected to use their local discount powers to grant 100% rural rate relief to eligible ratepayers from 1 April 2017.

Apply for this relief

Localism Rate Relief

iscretionary relief is given at the discretion of the Council and up to 100% can be given to a ratepayer not entitled to mandatory rate relief (Charity or Rural Rate Relief).

The ratepayer must not be an organisation that could receive relief as a non-profit making organisation or as a sports club or similar and the premises and organisation must be of significant benefit to residents of the island.

The premises and organisation must relieve the Isle of Wight Council of providing similar facilities.

The ratepayer must:

a) occupy the premises (no discretionary rate relief will be granted for unoccupied premises).        

 b) Provide facilities to certain priority groups such as elderly, disabled, minority groups, disadvantaged groups or          

 c) Provide significant employment opportunities to residents on the island or provide the residents of the Island with such services, opportunities or facilities that cannot be obtained locally or are not provided locally by another organisation.       

 d) Demonstrate that assistance (provided by the discretionary relief) will be for a short time only and that any business / operation is financially viable in the medium and long term.       

 e) Show that the organisation will comply with all legislative requirements and operate in an ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly manner at all times.

To apply for this relief, please click here

Section 44A Relief

Where part of a property is unoccupied for a short time, the Council can ask the Valuation Officer to apportion the Rateable Value of the property between the occupied and unoccupied parts.  The empty part will receive complete exemption for three months (or six for an industrial property).  

After the initial rate-free period expires the occupied business rate will apply to the whole property.  If you wish to apply for part unoccupied rates please send an A4 plan of the property as soon as the area has been cleared highlighting the “empty” areas for which relief is requested to the Non-Domestic Rates (Business Rates)


State Aid guidance

Visit the links below for information on guidance:


In very exceptional circumstances the council may remit payment of rates where it is satisfied that the ratepayer would sustain hardship if it did not do so and it is reasonable for it to do so having regard to the interests of its council taxpayers.

Qualifying criteria for Hardship Relief

Hardship Relief may be awarded to a limited company as well as to an individual, or groups of individuals in the case of partnerships. A ratepayer may make application for Hardship Relief whether they are subject to either occupied rates or empty property rates.

All relevant factors affecting the ability of a business to meet its liability for rates should be taken into account. The 'interests' of council tax payers may go wider than direct financial interests.

For example, where employment prospects in the area would be badly affected by a company going out of business, or where the amenities of an area would be severely affected, for instance, by the closure of the only shop in a village. In order for the council to consider granting hardship relief, an application must be made in writing, including copies of fully audited accounts.

Apply for Hardship Relief

View the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy. (PDF, 491KB, 8 pages)


To view  and download application forms please click on the relevant links below:   

Discretionary revaluation relief scheme 2017

As part of his budget in April 2017, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a range of measures to support businesses which had suffered significant increases in their rates bills as a result of the 2017 Revaluation.  These measures were in addition to the Transitional Relief Scheme.

Learn more about the revaluation by visiting the GOV.UK website

View the GOV.UK information on business rate relief - transitional relief scheme

As part of these measures , Isle of Wight Council was allocated £864,000 over four years towards a local Discretionary Relief Scheme as detailed below:

Amount of discretionary fund awarded (£000s)









Relief will only be given to premises which are occupied and to ratepayers who are in occupation at 31 March 2017 and on 1 April 2017.  Any ratepayer taking up occupation on or after 1 April 2017 will not be eligible for relief as they would not have experienced rate increases due to a revaluation.

Relief will be targeted to local businesses and not those that are national or multi-national in nature.  Local businesses are, for the purpose of this scheme, those which have premises wholly in the Councils area.

Letters and application forms have been sent to those ratepayers that have been identified with information about the scheme.

For more information and details of the scheme please view the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy.

 (PDF, 244KB, 39 pages).

Properties in disrepair

Generally disrepair does not affect the rateable value of properties.  The rating system normally treats properties as being in a reasonable state of repair, however there are exceptions.

A property might be in disrepair because;

  • It has fallen into disrepair over time;
  • It has been damaged 
  • It has been vandalised 
  • & there has been a fire or a flood.

If work is being undertaken to repair a property and it would be considered economically reasonable then the property is treated as already being in reasonable repair for rating purposes.

Depending on the extent of the work being undertaken to improve, extend or enhance a property, it may be that the valuation can be reduced to nil, whilst the works are underway, however the work must be much more than repairs. 

A reduction will usually be appropriate only when the works are to create a materially different property to the one that currently exists and at the point where the cost to restore the property to its original use is no longer economic in relation to its rateable value. 

You should contact the Valuation Office as soon as possible and provide all the evidence which supports your view that the property is in a state of substantial disrepair so that the valuation officer can investigate the situation.  An inspection by the valuation officer may be required.  

For further information visit the VOA website or Tel: 03000 501501 or email: