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Local discretionary rate relief scheme 2017 to 2020

On 8 March 2017, as part of the budget, the Chancellor announced that a business rates discretionary rate relief (DRR) fund of £300 million over four years would be made available to councils. Birmingham City Council has received its share of this fund, which is available from 2017 to support businesses facing steep increases in their business rates bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation.
To be eligible for the relief, businesses

  • must have been in occupation from 1 April 2017 and
  • must have been negatively affected by the 2017 revaluation.

The scheme will be administered through the Council’s discretionary relief powers under Section 47 of the Local Government Act 1988 (as amended).

Each local authority is responsible for its own scheme. Birmingham’s discretionary policy supports the targeted businesses with a 10% or more increase in rates payable, where the rateable value (RV) is over £15,000 and under £200,000, and where no other mandatory reliefs are applicable. However, the policy allows for further awards to be made by capping the increase at a lower level.

Birmingham has been able to initially award relief to qualifying ratepayers who have seen their bills increase by 4% and more.

Relief has been awarded to local businesses and not national and multi national businesses, businesses owned by Birmingham City Council or government departments, and other businesses the Council feels should be excluded.

As the funding provided by central government reduces each year, the awards will also decrease from the start of each financial year.

Relief is only applicable if you remain in occupation, and may be subject to adjustment or removal should your rateable value change.

Qualifying ratepayers were automatically awarded this relief in early October 2017, and new bills were issued confirming the new amounts payable.

The relief currently awarded is for the 2017 to 2018 financial year only, and will end on 31 March 2018. Any relief for future years will be deducted from your annual bill.

State aid

This relief needs to comply with the law on state aid. Therefore, to qualify for this relief, your business should not receive more than the maximum allowable amount of de minimis State Aid.  This may be particularly relevant to those premises that are part of a large retail chain, where the cumulative total of reliefs received could exceed this amount.

Further information on state aid can be found at www.gov.uk/state-aid

If your business has exceeded the state aid limits, you must advise us so the relief can be cancelled.

Should you have any enquiries in connection with this relief, you can call the business rates team on 0121 303 5509 or email business_rates@birmingham.gov.uk, quoting the payment reference number as shown on your bill.

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