Local Discretionary Rate Relief Fund

In the March 2017 Spring Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that there would be some additional support for occupiers of small and medium size properties most affected by the revaluation of rateable values in April 2017.

The Government required each Council to devise a scheme for the distribution of the funding in its area and final details have recently been received from the Government to enable the Council to finalise its scheme.

The scheme is scheduled to run for four years and the amount of funding available to businesses in North Hertfordshire is:

  • 2017/2018 - £320,000
  • 2018/2019 - £155,000
  • 2019/2020 - £64,000
  • 2020/2021 - £9,000

Total: £548,000

Who qualifies for this Relief?

To qualify for this Relief, the following qualifying criteria must be met:

  1. The property has a rateable value below £200,000.
  2. The ratepayer has experienced a financial increase, as a direct result of revaluation in the amount they have to pay for 2017-18, compared to their 2016-17 bill (after any other reliefs have been applied) of more than 12.5%
  3. The relevant property is occupied. For those applicants who occupied during 2016-17 their part liability will be annualised before comparison with their 2017-18 liability to ensure they comply with the more than 12.5% increase requirement.
  4. The ratepayer is not in receipt of the ‘Support for Small Business Relief’ (also announced in the Spring Budget) which limits increases on small properties caused by the loss of Small Business Rates Relief to £600.
  5. The value of any award is to be capped if necessary, to ensure that each Ratepayers pays at least the same amount of Rates as they did in the previous financial year, adjusted for annualisation for any properties occupied part way through 2016/2017
  6. The award of relief complies with EU law on State Aid:
  • State Aid law is the means by which the European Union regulates state funded support to businesses. Providing discretionary relief to ratepayers is likely to amount to State Aid. However the support for ratepayers will be State Aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations (1407/2013).
  • The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 of De Minimis aid in a three year period (consisting of the current financial year and the two previous financial years). There are certain types of undertaking that are excluded from receiving De Minimis aid. Any aid to be considered De Minimis is required to be converted into Euros.
  • To administer De Minimis it is necessary for the local authority to establish that the award of aid will not result in the undertaking having received more than €200,000 of De Minimis aid. Note that the threshold only relates to aid provided under the De Minimis Regulations (aid under other exemptions or outside the scope of State Aid is not relevant to the De Minimis calculation).

How to apply

The Council will be contacting all those businesses that it has identified as possibly qualifying for this Relief and will invite applications to be made via the on-line form below.

Apply for Discretionary Rate Relief

If you have not heard from us and believe you may qualify, please complete the on-line form and your application will be considered along with all others.

Applications must be received by 24 September 2017 and late submissions will not be accepted. This is because the level of awards can only be determined when all applications have been received and therefore we have to have a cut-off date. The amount of Relief awarded will be determined by comparing the total percentage increase in Rates payable by all qualifying properties with the amount of money available and making the awards pro-rata so that those with the biggest increases will receive the most Relief.

A copy of the Scheme is available at the link below.

Once we have confirmed that you meet the qualifying criteria, we will grant the Relief and send you an amended bill. In the meantime you should continue to pay as advised in your original bill.

Please note the following:

  • The scheme lasts for four years with a reducing amount of money available in years 2, 3 and 4. Relief will automatically be calculated for each subsequent year provided you remain in occupation of the premises and you do not exceed the State Aid Rules. Consequently, the specific award for each year is made for that year only and will terminate on the 31 March of each year of the scheme to be replaced with a new award in years 2, 3 and 4
  • You must advise the Council should the value of any State Aid exceed the De Minimus, currently 200,000 Euros in any three year period

If you have any further queries regarding this, please contact Mark Scanes at mark.scanes@north-herts.gov.uk