Market Insight

Coronavirus: What does it mean for business rates?

March 25, 2020

In light of the rapidly changed market we all find ourselves in and the ongoing updates to the business community from Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, we want to provide an update on what it means in relation to your business rates liabilities.

Here is a summary of some of what is on offer to businesses via the business rates system:

Enhanced Retail Discount: 

Retail uses has been widened to now include leisure, hospitality. There are some specific exclusions and the guidance to Local Authorities is for them to determine those uses

  • Enhanced retail discount is 100% relief for 2020/21 – irrespective of size of rateable value (previously capped at £51,000)
  • This is usually subject to State Aid rules and the Government has notified the EU to effectively remove this – we await confirmation 
  • We assume that shops and ‘obvious’ retail properties will receive an amended rate demand in due course, which may take some time to administer
  • Qualifying Day Nursery operators will also now receive rate relief for 2020/21.


  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

What can wider businesses do to reduce rating liability?:

  • Have you had your 2017 Rateable Value reviewed? Remember there could be an opportunity to raise cases in respect of business rates already paid between 1st April 2017 – 31st March 2021
  • Has coronavirus temporarily closed part of your business or left part of your occupation vacant? If so, this could present a potential opportunity to reduce your rates liability. 

These are unprecedented and uncertain times, but making the most of what is already available to your business or looking at ways in which you can adjust your operation in the face of Coronavirus is vital.

    As things continue to evolve, we will keep you updated, to ensure you are on the front foot as far as possible, given the constantly changing circumstances we are all operating in.

    For help or advice in relation to any of the issues discussed in this article, don’t hesitate to contact our business rates team.