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Cumbria and the rest of England has been placed in national lockdown (stay at home). 

See the latest news and get more information regarding coronavirus (Covid-19). Find out more about the help for affected businesses, charities including the support grants. There is also advice for individuals including the Test and Trace Support payment. Our customer contact centres are not open to the public at the moment due to the restrictions. Please use our online forms, webchat, app and phone number to contact us

Business rates relief and exemptions

Coronavirus update

The Government has announced a large expansion of retail rate relief in response to the emergency. It now includes the leisure and hospitality sectors.

Retail relief in 2020-21 will be 100 per cent (irrespective of rateable value) for shops, cafes, drinking establishments, restaurants, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, guest and boarding houses, holiday homes, museums, art galleries, theatres, caravan parks, gyms, sports grounds and clubs, night clubs and club houses. 

There is no need to make an application. For those affected, we will shortly be making the necessary changes to ratepayer's bills, and will not be calling for direct debit payments.

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.

Are you eligible for a business support grant? Check - and apply - at our  Coronavirus (Covid-19) business support grants page.

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

Other discretionary reliefs may be awarded to those businesses who were adversely affected by the 1 April 2017 revaluation. A local policy  has been implemented which provides the appropriate rate relief in those circumstances.

Retail Relief

For 2020/21, occupied retail business properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive half off their bill by way of retail relief, after all other applicable reliefs have been given. To qualify for the relief, the premises should be occupied mainly as a shop, restaurant, cafe, drinking establishment, cinema or live music venue. The award of retail relief is subject to State Aid limits.

There is no need to apply for this relief, as we will automatically award it to those premises which qualify. We will use the Valuation Office classification in the rating list for this purpose.

Examples of the types of retail premises for which this relief will be given are shown here and examples of those not considered to be retail use are shown here

If you wish to contact our Revenues team you can do so by phone 0303 123 1702  or by emailing .

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