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Hardship & Local Discounts

What is the Hardship Relief Scheme?

Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 gives the Council a discretionary power to reduce or remit the payment of non-domestic rates by granting Hardship Relief.

How is Hardship Relief granted?

Any Hardship Relief will normally be granted as a percentage of the rates payable for a specific period, usually the rating year in which the application is made. In some cases, interim decisions may be made subject to review in the light of the actual financial accounts for the period concerned.

What are the general qualifying criteria for Hardship Relief?

The principle purpose of an award of hardship relief is to provide short-term assistance to businesses that are suffering unexpected hardship, arising from circumstances beyond the business’s control and outside of the normal risks associated with running a business of that type, to the extent that the viability of the business would be threatened if an award were not made.

 

Rate relief on the grounds of hardship shall only be awarded where it is considered that:

(i) The ratepayer would sustain hardship if the Council failed to grant Hardship Relief; and

(ii) It is reasonable to grant Hardship Relief having regard to the interest of person’s subject to the Council Tax.

 

The test of “hardship” need not be confined strictly to financial hardship and applicants should disclose all relevant factors affecting the ability of the business to meet its rate liability.

The “interest” of local Council Taxpayers may go wider than direct financial interests; for example, where employment prospects in an area would be worsened by a ratepayer going out of business, or the amenities of an area might be reduced by, for instance, the loss of a neighbourhood shop. It is unlikely that Hardship Relief would be granted in respect of an empty property or where there is little expectation of economic survival.

 

How to apply for Hardship Relief

Any ratepayer wishing to apply to the Council for Hardship Relief should refer to the Council's agreed policy for information on the application process and the circumstances in which the award of the relief will be considered.

A copy of the Council's Discretionary Rate Relief Policy may be downloaded by clicking here. 

An application form may be downloaded by clicking here

 

An application and supported documents may be submitted electronically by clicking here.

 

What is the Local Rate Relief Scheme?

Section 69 of the Localism Act 2011 amends the section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to allow local authorities the discretion to award rate relief to all types of businesses.

The Plain English Guide to the Act addresses this as follows:

“The Localism Act gives councils more freedom to offer business rate discounts - to help attract firms, investment and jobs. Whilst councils would need to meet the cost of any discount from local resources, they may decide that the immediate cost of the discount is outweighed by the long-term benefit of attracting growth and jobs to their area.”

 

Applications for rate relief under this section of the Policy will normally only be considered favourably where the Council is satisfied that an award will result in tangible benefits to local residents and in particular where the award will directly result in attracting businesses, investment or jobs to the local area.

 

Any ratepayer wishing to apply to the Council for local rate relief should refer to the Council's agreed policy for information on the application process and the circumstances in which the award of the relief will be considered.

A copy of the Council's Discretionary Rate Relief Policy may be downloaded by clicking here

 

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