Relief and reductions

Reduction or remission on grounds of hardship

We can reduce your business rates bill with hardship relief.

We can grant relief under Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 on the grounds of hardship. 

It is at the discretion of the local authority whether to grant the relief where: 

  • it is satisfied that the ratepayer would sustain hardship if it did not do so
  • it is reasonable to do so with regard to the interests of council tax payers

The discretion may be applied to occupied or empty premises. 

Although we may have rules for the consideration of hardship cases, we do not adopt a blanket policy either to give or not to give relief; each case should be considered on its own merits. 

Reduction of remission of rates on the grounds of hardship should be the exception rather than the rule.

The test of hardship need not be confined strictly to financial hardship; all relevant factors affecting the ability of a business to meet its liability for rates should be taken into account. 

The interests of council taxpayers in any area may go wider than direct financial interests. For example, where the employment prospects in the area would be worsened by a company going out of business, or the amenities of an area might be reduced by, for instance, the loss of the only shop in a village. 

Where the granting of relief would have an adverse effect on the financial interests of council taxpayers, the case for a reduction or remission of rates payable may still, on balance, outweigh the cost to taxpayers. 

The council's Cabinet Member (elected councillor) considers applications for relief on the grounds of hardship. 

For the Cabinet Member to reach an informed decision, it is important that: 

  • every question in the form is answered as fully as possible - if the question does not apply to you the please write "not applicable" in the space provided for your answer
  • documentary evidence of circumstances accompanies the completed form 

If you do not answer the questions or evidence is not provided, then your application may not be considered. 

Upon receipt of your application, provided you have answered all of the questions and have attached the necessary documentary evidence, the Business Rates team will prepare a report for consideration by the Cabinet Member. 

As the report contains information about the financial or business affairs of applicants, all members of the public and press are excluded from the part of the meeting when these are considered. The Cabinet Member does not consider representations in person at meetings so please be sure that everything you wish to be taken into account is included in your written application. The information you have supplied will be treated in the strictest confidence. 


  • we will consider only one application per business every 2 years
  • your previous payment record will be taken into account
  • you must continue to pay the rates pending a decision 

If you require any further information, or to request an application form, email the Business Rates team or call  0300 1231384.

Page last updated: 10 Nov 2020