Retail Relief

In the 2018 Autumn Budget the Government announced that it will provide for a new discretionary ‘Retail Relief’ scheme for Business Rates. The scheme will come into effect from 1st April 2019 and will run for two years ending 31st March 2021.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments with a rateable value of less than £51,000, that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments. The value of the relief will be one third of the rates bill and will be applied after mandatory and other discretionary reliefs.

Businesses Eligible for Relief
Businesses that will benefit from the Relief will be those that occupy any property -
• wholly/mainly used as a shop, restaurant, café or drinking establishment
• with a Rateable Value less than £51,000

Shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments are considered to be those being used as follows -

Sale of goods to visiting members of the public, such as -
• Shops (e.g. florist, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off-licence, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets)
• Charity shops
• Opticians
• Post offices
• Furnishing shops/ display rooms (e.g. carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
• Car/ caravan show rooms
• Second hand car lots
• Markets
• Petrol stations
• Garden centres
• Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)

Provision of services to visiting member of the public, such as -
• Hair and beauty services (e.g. hair dressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops)
• Shoe repairs/ key cutting
• Travel agents
• Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
• Dry cleaners
• Launderettes
• PC/ TV/ domestic appliance repair
• Funeral directors
• Photo processing
• DVD/ video rentals
• Tool hire
• Car hire

Sale of food and/ or drink to visiting members of the public, such as -
• Restaurants
• Takeaways
• Sandwich shops
• Coffee shops
• Pubs
• Bars

These lists are not intended to be exhaustive as it would be impossible to list the many and varied retail uses that exist.

There will also be mixed uses and properties which are not listed but are broadly similar in nature to those listed. These may be considered eligible for the Relief.

The term wholly or mainly being used as a shop, restaurant, cafe or drinking establishment is a test on use rather than occupation. Therefore, properties which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for the Relief.

Businesses which are not considered to be eligible for the Relief
These will include:-
• Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)
• Other services (e.g. estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)
• Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
• Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, tutors)
• Post office sorting office.

This list is not exhaustive and the Council may decide not to award Relief where a business is broadly similar in nature to those above.

Businesses that occupy properties which are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public will not be eligible for the Relief.

Ratepayers wishing to apply for the Relief will be required to complete our online form -

State Aid
Awards such as retail relief are required to comply with the EU law on state aid. In this case, this involves returning a declaration to Test Valley Borough Council, with your application, detailing any other de minimis state aid you have received (including any other retail relief you are being granted for premises other than the one to which your application relates), and confirming that the award of retail relief will not exceed the €200,000 which an undertaking can receive under the de minimis regulations EC 1407/2013.

De minimis aid regulations
De minimis aid is the term used to describe small amounts of state aid that do not require European Commission approval.
The European Commission considers that public funding which complies with the de minimis regulation has a negligible impact on trade and competition, and does not require notification and approval. The total de minimis aid which can be given to a single recipient is €200,000 over a 3-year fiscal period. This can be given for most purposes, including operating aid, and is not project-related.
• The maximum de minimis funding any single recipient can receive is €200,000 (cash grant equivalent) over a 3-year fiscal period. The sterling equivalent is calculated using the Commission exchange rate applicable on the written date of offer of the de minimis funding.
• This ceiling takes into account all public assistance given as de minimis funding over the previous 3 fiscal years and which can take various forms (grants, loans, subsidised contracts, and so on). Aid given under an approved scheme does not have to be cumulated with de minimis aid.
• De minimis aid cannot be given for export related activities (except attendance at trade fairs), agriculture and fisheries or aid favouring domestic over imported products.
• De minimis aid does not affect the level of state aid that a recipient can receive under any other schemes approved by the Commission, i.e. it is cumulated only with other de minimis aid.
The de minimis regulations EU1407/2013 (as published in the Official Journal of the European Union L352 24.12.2013) can be downloaded at: