The original Retail Discount scheme applied to qualifying retail premises with a Rateable Value of under £51,000 and gave 33% off the 2019/20 rates bill. Nationwide relief was capped at €200,000/£170,000.
On 18th March 2020 Expanded Retail Discount widened recipients to include those in the Leisure & Hospitality Sectors They key changes are;-
• Retail Discount extended to cover leisure & hospitality uses as well as retail.
• Discount increased from 50% to 100% for 2020/21 on Qualifying Properties only
• £51,000 Rateable Value Cap removed
• State aid cap of €200,000 removed.
What are Qualifying Properties?
a) 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
On 3rd March 2021 the scheme was extended for a further three months and should apply to all existing recipients of Expanded Retail Discount. The eligibility criteria are almost identical to last year but councils have some latitude to make their own decisions about how the relief should be administered.
From 1st July 2021 the position changes. If your business was forced to close on 5th January 2021 as a result of lockdown measures then relief continues at 66% off your rates liability up to a £2m cap. If your business wasn’t required to close then the relief will be capped at £105,000 per business.
Once again these measures only apply to occupied properties and those legally required to close -there is still no relief for owners of vacant properties.