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Rate relief


Small businesses, charities and businesses in some rural areas can apply to pay lower rates.

Expanded Retail discount

The Government announced in the Budget on 29 October 2018 that it would provide a Business Rates Retail Discount, to apply to occupied retail properties in each of the years 2019-20 and 2020-21. For 2019/20 the value of discount should be one third of the bill for retail properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 and is applied after mandatory reliefs and other discretionary reliefs have been applied.

In response to Covid-19, in the Budget on 11 March 2020 and subsequent statements, the Government announced that for 2020/21 it would increase the discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors and some previous ineligible retail business usages and that there will be no rateable value limit on the relief.

At the Budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced the 100% discount scheme would be extended to also apply in the first three months of 2021/22 from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 and at 66% for the remaining period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022. There will be no cash cap on the relief received for the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021 relief will be capped at  £2 million per business. If the business was legally allowed to open during the national lockdown starting 5 January 2021, this cap is £105,000 rather than £2 million.

Main eligibility criteria:

  • you are the ratepayer
  • usage of the property is mainly retail, leisure, hospitality to visiting members of the public

Properties used for financial services, medical services, professional services (such as solicitors or accountants), Post Office sorting offices, or other business that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public, are not eligible. 

If you think you are eligible and a discount is not shown on your bill and you have a business rates account number, please contact us.

No applications for retail discount for 2020/21 can be considered after 30 September 2021.

You may opt out of receiving the discount in 2021/22 by letting us know that you want to refuse to receive the discount in relation to the premises your bill refers to. Please be aware that once you have refused the discount, you cannot withdraw your refusal for all or any part of the discount period.

Gov.uk: business rates: expanded retail discount 2021 to 2022 - local authority guidance

Nursery discount

In response to Covid-19, the Government announced for 2020/21 a 100% discount scheme for properties occupied by providers on Ofsted's early years register which are wholly or mainly used for the provision of the early years foundation stage.

At the Budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the Nursery Discount would continue to apply at 100% for eligible properties for the first three months of 2021 from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. Subsequently, from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the Nursery Discount will apply at 66%. From 1 July 2021, the relief will be capped at £105,000 per business.

The discount will be applied automatically where we have been able to identify entitlement. If you qualify for this discount but it is not shown on your bill please contact us

No applications for nursery discount for 2020/21 can be considered after 30 September 2021

You may opt out of receiving the discount in 2021/22 by letting us know that you wish to refuse to receive the discount in relation to the premises your bill refers to. Please be aware that once you have refused the discount, you cannot withdraw your refusal for all or any part of the discount period.

Gov.uk: business rates: nursery (childcare) discount 2021 to 2022 – local authority guidance

Relief for newspapers

If your office space is occupied by local newspaper publishers, you may be entitled to rate relief.

Contact us for more information.

Local discounts

We have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. 

Contact us for more information.

Partly occupied relief

We have discretionary powers to grant relief on a property that is partly unoccupied/not fully occupied, if this is only for a 'short period of time'. Partially occupied rate relief is not intended for when part of a property is temporarily not used, it is for where there are practical difficulties in occupying or vacating all of a property.

Icon for pdf Application for partly occupied rate relief under Section 44a (PDF, 106.7kb)

Local Discretionary Relief scheme (Spring 2017 budget)

The government is providing a £300 million discretionary fund for businesses across the country facing steep increases in business rates due to the 2017 revaluation. We are now able to award this, details of of this scheme are included in our Icon for pdf Discretionary Rate Relief Policy (PDF, 364.4kb) . If you are eligible we will contact you shortly about applying for this relief.

Contact us if you have not heard from us, and you think you are eligible.

Extended relief for small businesses (Spring 2017 budget)

If your business is facing a large increase in business rates, because you can no longer claim small business or rural rate relief (due to a change in your business's rateable value), you may qualify for this relief. If you are eligible you do not need to do anything as we will send you a revised demand once this relief has been awarded.

Contact us  if you have not heard from us, and you think you are eligible.

Small business rate relief

You can get this relief if you only occupy one business property in England and that property has a rateable value (RV) of less than £15,000. The relief does not apply to empty properties.

You will get 100% relief for a property with an RV of £12,000 or less, meaning you will not pay any business rates for it. For properties with an RV of between £12,001 and £14,999, the rate of relief is awarded on a sliding scale decreasing from 100% to 0%. Here are some examples:

maximum Rateable ValuePercentage reduction
£12,000100%
£12,75075%
£13,50050%
£14,25025%
£15,0000%

If you take on a second property you can still keep the relief on your original property for a year.

If you occupy more than one property, you can get small business rate relief as long as the RV of each of your other properties is less than £2,900 and the total RV of all the properties (including the main one) is less than £20,000. The relief is applied to the main property.

If your property has an RV below £51,000, your business rates will be calculated using the small business multiplier instead of the standard one. This is the case even if you have multiple properties. The higher multiplier will apply if you are liable to pay rates on an empty property or if you are in receipt of a mandatory relief. Details of the small business multiplier and how your business rates are calculated are on our What are business rates? page (under 'Non domestic rating multiplier').

Apply for small business rate relief

Relief for charities, community amateur sports clubs and other non-profit making organisations

Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs can be entitled to 80% relief if they occupy the property and it's mostly used for that purpose. We also have discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Contact us for more information.

Apply rate relief for charities, community amateur sports clubs and other non-profit making organisations

Rate relief for businesses in rural areas

Businesses in rural areas (with a population less than 3000) may be entitled to a 100% reduction if they occupy:

  • the only general store, post office or food shop with a rateable value under £8,500
  • the only public house or petrol station with a rateable value under £12,500

Icon for pdf List of areas classed as rural (PDF, 93.6kb)

Apply for rural rate relief

Contact us
Business rates
03000 268 997
Our address is:
  • Revenues and Benefits
  • PO Box 238
  • Stanley
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH8 1FP
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