Business Rates reliefs and exemptions

Empty Property Relief 

You don’t have to pay business rates on empty buildings for three months. After this time, most businesses must pay full business rates.

Some properties can get extended empty property relief. These include:

  • industrial premises (e.g., warehouses) - exempt for a further three months
  • listed buildings - until reoccupied
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 - until reoccupied. Find and check your rateable value

Email to let us know when your property becomes vacant or for further details about exemptions. 

View information on exempted buildings and empty buildings relief

Small business rate relief (occupied properties only)


You can get small business rate relief if:

What you get

If the rateable value of your property is less than £12,000 you won’t have to pay business rates. For properties with a rateable value of £12,001 to £15,000, the relief will go down gradually from 100% to 0%.

If you use more than one property 

You can get small business rate relief if the rateable value of each of your other properties is less than £2,900, and if the rateable values of all the properties added together is not more than £27,999.

You must advise us if you:

  • move out
  • start to use an additional property anywhere else in England
  • make any changes to the property

To apply for small business rate relief please download and complete the small business rate relief application form (PDF 76KB)

If you have any further questions, please email


Transitional relief scheme

Upwards Transitional Relief supports businesses by capping bill increases caused by changes in rateable values at the 2023 revaluation.

The ‘upward caps’ are 10%, 25% and 40%, respectfully, for small, medium, and large properties in 2024-25, and will be applied before any other reliefs or supplements. Your 2024-25 annual bill will show if transitional relief has been applied.  

This support will be funded by the Exchequer rather than by limiting bill decreases.

Retail, hospitality, and leisure relief

At the Autumn Statement on 22 November 2023, the government announced the extension of the retail, hospitality, and leisure relief scheme for 2024/25.

The relief for eligible properties will remain at 75% for 2024/25.  There is a cash cap of £110,000 per eligible business.

To qualify, the occupied premises should be wholly or mainly used as

  • a shop, restaurant, cafe or drinking establishment, cinema, or live music venue
  • for assembly and leisure: or
  • As hotels, guest and boarding premises or self-catering accommodation

More information about the scheme can be found on the GOV.UK website at Business Rates Relief: 2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme - GOV.UK (

Hereditaments being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public:

  • Shops (such as: florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets, etc)
  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/ display rooms (such as: carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
  • Car/caravan show rooms
  • Second-hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)

Hereditaments being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • Hair and beauty services (such as: hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc)
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Ticket offices e.g., for theatre
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire

Hereditaments being used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public:

  • Restaurants
  • Takeaways
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Bars

Hereditaments being used as cinemas

Hereditaments being used as live music venues:

  • Live music venues are hereditaments wholly or mainly used for the performance of live music for the purpose of entertaining an audience. Hereditaments cannot be considered a live music venue for the purpose of business rates relief where a venue is wholly or mainly used as a nightclub or a theatre, for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).
  • Hereditaments can be a live music venue even if used for other activities, but only if those other activities (i) are merely ancillary or incidental to the performance of live music (e.g. the sale/supply of alcohol to audience members) or (ii) do not affect the fact that the primary activity for the premises is the performance of live music (e.g., because those other activities are insufficiently regular or frequent, such as a polling station or a fortnightly community event).

Hereditaments being used for the provision of sport, leisure and facilities to visiting members of the public (including for the viewing of such activities).

  • Sports grounds and clubs
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Nightclubs
  • Sport and leisure facilities
  • Stately homes and historic houses
  • Theatres
  • Tourist attractions
  • Gyms
  • Wellness centres, spas, massage parlours
  • Casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls

Hereditaments being used for the assembly of visiting members of the public.

  • Public halls
  • Clubhouses, clubs and institutions

Hereditaments where the non-domestic part is being used for the provision of living accommodation as a business:

  • Hotels, Guest and Boarding Houses
  • Holiday homes
  • Caravan parks and sites

To qualify for the relief the hereditament should be wholly or mainly being used for the above qualifying purposes. In a similar way to other reliefs (such as charitable relief), this is a test on use rather than occupation. Therefore, hereditaments which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief. 

Hereditaments being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • 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; employment agencies, estate and letting agents)
  • Post office sorting offices

Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.

In line with conditions set by the government, a ratepayer can claim a maximum of £110,000 of support under the RHL scheme across all their eligible properties.  The cash cap applies at a group company level (so holding companies and subsidiaries cannot claim up to the cash cap for each company). It also applies to organisations which, although not a company, have such an interest in a company that they would, if they were a company, result in its being the holding company.

The RHL scheme is also subject to the Minimal Financial Assistance limits under the Subsidy Control Act. This means that no recipient can receive over £315,000 over a three-year period (consisting of the current financial year and the two previous years).

To qualify for this relief the ratepayer must not, therefore, have exceeded either the £110,000 cash cap for 2024-2025 or the Minimal Financial Assistance limit of £315,000 for the three-year period.

Apply for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme

The Council will identify the premises where relief should apply. Your 2024-25 annual business rates bill will show if the relief has been granted.

If your bill does not show the relief, and you believe it should please email

If you believe that you are not eligible

Relief has automatically been withheld where it is clear a business is likely to exceed the cash caps. 

If you have received a bill showing relief but you are not eligible or will exceed the cash caps please notify the council immediately. Please complete the refusal form at Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief 2024/25 (

Relief for eligible low-carbon heat networks  

 You might be eligible for Heat Network Relief if you have your own rating assessment, and your property is wholly or mainly: 

  • used for the purposes of a heat network and;
  • the heat is over the next 12 months expected to be generated from a low carbon source (irrespective of whether that source is located on the Property or on a different Property). 


If you think your business should be considered for this relief please email giving full details of why and provide all information you think is relevant to support your application, including your contact details. 


Full guidance about the relief is available here Business rates relief: Heat networks relief - GOV.UK (



Improvement relief

You might get improvement relief if you make certain improvements to your property. If you are eligible, you will get the relief for one year. It starts from when you complete your improvements.


Any improvements you make must:

They must also either:

  • increase the size of your property
  • add new features or equipment to your property, such as heating, air conditioning or CCTV

Any improvements to existing features or equipment do not qualify.

You must have occupied the property during and after the improvement works to get improvement relief. You cannot pass on your improvement relief to anybody else.

What you’ll get

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will decide how much relief you get based on your property’s ‘rateable value’ and the type of improvements you’ve made.

How to get improvement relief

You do not need to apply for improvement relief. The VOA will be told if you have made an improvement to your property and will decide if you qualify for improvement relief.

If you qualify, the VOA will send a certificate showing:

  • the property’s new rateable value
  • how much improvement relief you are getting
  • when the relief ends

Once it has been confirmed that you were occupying the property, a revised business rates bill will be issued.

If you think you should be getting improvement relief but are not

Contact if you are not getting improvement relief and you think you are eligible for it.

Customer Q&A:

What is improvement relief?

  • Improvement relief supports businesses who have invested in their property.
  • It provides relief from higher business rates bills, where the increase in your bill was due to making certain improvements to your property.
  • The relief lasts for 12 months from when the improvement works were completed.


Who is eligible for improvement relief? Do I need to apply for it?

  • You do not need to apply for improvement relief or do anything differently.
  • Your local council will apply the relief to your bills if you are eligible.

To be eligible for improvement relief, you must:

  • have qualifying improvement works, and
  • meet the occupation condition.


How does improvement relief work?

  • You will receive a certificate from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if you have qualifying works. The VOA will give the same information to your local council.
  • Your council will apply the relief and send you a revised bill if they are satisfied that you meet the occupation requirements. This means that you have occupied the property during and after the improvement works.


I have received a certificate from the VOA – what does this mean?

  • If you have received a certificate of qualifying works from the VOA, this means that you may be eligible for improvement relief.
  • Improvement relief provides relief from higher business rates bills, where the increase in your bill was due to making certain improvements to your property.
  • The VOA will send this information to your local council.
  • Your local council will apply the relief to your business rates bill if you also meet the occupation condition.


I think my certificate for improvement relief is wrong. Who should I contact?

  • The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) values qualifying works and issues certificates to ratepayers.
  • There is no right of appeal against the certified values, however, you should let the VOA know if you think there is something wrong with your certificate.
  • You can contact the VOA using the email address on your letter.


Where can I find out more information about improvement relief?