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Business rates relief and exemptions

In some circumstances a business can apply for a reduction or exemption of business rates (NNDR).

Information about the different types of relief available and how to to apply can be found below and on the Gov.UK website.

Small Business Rate Relief

Small business rate relief is available to ratepayers who occupy either;

a) One business property, or

b) One main business property and other additional business properties, provided all of the other properties each have a rateable value less than £2,900 and the total rateable value of all the additional properties is less than £20,000 (£27,500 in London).

Relief can only be given on one property. Properties eligible for charitable rate relief will not be eligible for Small Business Rate Relief.

How much relief will be granted?

From 1st April 2017 successful applicants whose rateable value is £12,000 or less will receive 100% relief. Where the rateable value is between £12,000 and £15,000, the ratepayer will be entitled to a percentage rate relief on a sliding scale.

Properties with a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,999 will automatically get some relief by having the bill worked out using the lower of the two multipliers (ie 0.499 for 2020/21), irrespective of the number of businesses owned by the ratepayer, without the need for an application.

Businesses whose rateable value is £51,000 or more are not eligible for any Small Business Rate Relief.

For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant loss of small business relief, they will be allowed to keep that relief for 12 months.

Small Business Relief application form

Small Business Relief Guidance Notes

Apply online for small business rate relief

Unoccupied properties

Once a property becomes empty, the first three months are exempt from business rates (six months in the case of an empty industrial property.) Thereafter, the full 100% rates are payable. There are certain types of empty property where no rates are payable even after the three (or six) month period expires - examples include properties with a rateable value under £2,900, listed buildings, ancient monuments, those formerly occupied by companies in administration or a bankrupt person, properties owned by charities or community amateur sports clubs, those where occupation is prohibited by law and those where the owner is the personal representative of a deceased person.                   

To tell us your business property is now empty, email us at . Please tell us your account number and the effective date. 

Charitable relief

Charities are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property which is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. Relief is given at 80% of the full rate bill or of the transitional bill where the transitional arrangements apply. Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) registered with HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) are also entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the club. 

Billing authorities have discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of the bill. 

Authorities also have discretion to remit all or part of any rate bill in respect of property occupied by certain bodies not established or conducted for profit.

You are eligible if:

The building is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes


The organisation is established for charitable purposes only, or be persons administering a trust for charitable purposes

Registered charities

Registered charities should enter their Registration Number on the application form and enclose a copy of their certificate and, if the criteria above are satisfied they will be eligible for Mandatory Relief.

Charities which are excepted from registration under the Charities Act 1960 are also eligible for Mandatory Relief (e.g. Church Commissioners, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides).

Charity Shops will also be entitled to Mandatory Relief if:-

     (a) they are  wholly or mainly used for the sale of goods given to the charity;


     (b) the proceeds of the sale of the goods are used for the purposes of the charity.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CACSs) are entitled to mandatory rate relief where the property is occupied by and wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes by the CASC.

When granted, Mandatory Relief will be for a total of 80% of the rates bill.

Any changes to the circumstances affecting entitlement to Mandatory Relief must be notified to us immediately, including any change of correspondence address for the organisation.

To apply for charitable rate relief please fill in the form below and either email it to , take it into one of our customer service centres  or send it to our postal address .

Mandatory & Discretionary guidance notes .pdf


Charitable (Mandatory) rate relief application

Rate relief for businesses in rural areas

Certain types of business in rural villages with a population below 3,000 will qualify for rate relief of 100%. Businesses that qualify for this relief are as follows;

i) the sole general store or the sole post office in the village, provided it has a rateable value of less than £8,500

ii) any food shop with a rateable value of less than £8,500

iii) the sole pub or the sole petrol station in the village provided it has a rateable value of less than £12,500

The Council may decide to give up to 100% rate relief to any other business in such a rural village if it is satisfied that the business is of benefit to the community and having regard to the interests of its council tax payers, who would have to contribute towards the cost of giving such relief.

Our Rural Settlement List  shows all rural villages in Allerdale which satisfy the population criteria.   

Rural Rate Relief Guidance notes

Rural rate relief application form

If you wish to apply, please complete the application form  and email it to us at  or post it to us at Allerdale Borough Council, Allerdale House, Workington CA14 3JY

Relief for Local Newspapers

A discount worth up to £1,500 a year is available until 31st March 2025, to office space occupied by local newspapers. This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per property, and up to state aid limits.

To apply for this type of relief please send an e-mail to  quoting your account number.

Discretionary rate relief 

Discretionary Relief may be applied for by any organisation including those who already receive Mandatory Relief.

Discretionary Relief is at the discretion of the Council and can be for any amount up to 100% of the total rates payable.  For the recipients of Mandatory Relief, this means up to the full amount of the 20% due for payment, after the award of Mandatory Relief.

 However, in order for Discretionary Relief to be given, one of the following conditions must be satisfied:-

  • The ratepayer is a charity or trustees for a charity and the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes;


  • All or part of the property is occupied for the purpose of one or more institutions or other organisations which are not established or conducted for profit and whose main objects are charitable or otherwise philanthropic or religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts


  • The property is wholly or mainly used for the purposes of recreation, and all or part of it is occupied for the purposes of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.

If the Council revokes the decision to award Discretionary Relief, or decides to reduce the amount, it may take effect only at the end of a financial year after at least 12 months written notice has been given.

The Council cannot grant Discretionary Relief to itself, or to a County Council or Parish Council.

The government has issued guidelines to Councils to assist them in the determination of their discretionary powers.  Each application will be examined individually and treated on its own merits and whilst the Council may determine its own general policy, it may not make its own rules in granting or refusing relief to particular groups or types of organisations en bloc.

The Council reserves the right to seek additional information as necessary and any decision made by the Council in matters of Discretionary Relief is final and not subject to appeal to any other body.

To apply for discretionary rate relief please fill in the form below and send it to .

Mandatory & Discretionary guidance notes .pdf

Discretionary relief application form


Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme 2023-2024:

On 17 November 2022, the Chancellor announced that eligible ratepayers will receive 75 per cent relief on their business rates bills for the year 2022/23 up to a maximum cash cap of £110,000.

Relief will be provided to eligible occupied retail, hospitality and leisure properties in 2022/23. 

However, in line with the conditions set by the government, a ratepayer may only claim up to £110,000 of support under the 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme for all of their eligible hereditaments.

Subsidy Allowance

The local authority is seeking to provide relief that falls below the Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) thresholds, the Subsidy Control Act allows an economic actor (e.g. a holding company and its subsidiaries) to receive up to £315,000 in a 3-year period (consisting of the 2023/24 year and the 2 previous financial years). MFA subsidies cumulate with each other and with other subsidies that fall within the category of ‘Minimal or SPEI financial assistance’. Expanded Retail Discount granted in 2021/22 does not count towards the £315,000 allowance but BEIS COVID-19 business grants and any other subsidies claimed under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement should be counted.

Full guidance is available at: Business Rates Relief: 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme 

If you wish to apply for any of the above reliefs, or contact the Revenues Team, please email or call us on 0303 123 1702.

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