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Business Rates Retail Discount 2019-20 and 2020-21

We are granting a Business Rates Retail Discount under S47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, in accordance with the criteria set out in the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) Business Rates Retail Discount Guidance January 2020 document.

Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-retail-discount-guidance to read the document.


In the 2018 Autumn Budget, the Government announced that eligible retailers with a rateable value below £51,000 will receive a one third discount on their business rates bills. In 2020 the scheme was altered to increase the discount for 2020/2021 to 50%.

In 2019/20 the scheme adopts the same definition of retails following the previous retail relief scheme in 2014/15 and 2015/16. In 2020/2021 the scheme is extended to include cinemas and live music venues.

If you have a query about a Business Rate Retail Discount for 2019/20 or 2020/21 please email brates@guildford.gov.uk.


We are granting a retail discount to eligible business rate payers in the form of discretionary rate relief under S47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, in accordance with the criteria set out in the MHCLG Business Rates Retail Discount - Guidance 27 January 2020 document, which can be viewed using the link at the start of this article.

Eligibility for a Business Rates Retail Discount

The retail discount is half of the net payable bill (prior to any entitlement to the 2020 pubs discount or any localism relief not covered by section 31 grant) and is available for occupied retail properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000, which are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues:

i) for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public

(for example, shops, charity shops, opticians, post offices, furnishing shops or display rooms, car or caravan showrooms, second-hand car lots, markets, petrol stations, garden centres, art galleries where art is for sale)

ii) provision of services to visiting members of the public

(for example, hair and beauty services, shoe repairs/key cutting, travel agents, ticket offices (eg for theatres), dry cleaners, launderettes, PC/TV/domestic appliance repair, funeral directors, photo processing, tool hire, car hire)

iii)  sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public

(for example, restaurants, takeaways, sandwich shops, coffee shops, pubs, bars)

iv) being used as cinemas

v)  being used as live music venues

(this includes the performance of live music for the purpose of entertaining an audience, it excludes properties wholly or mainly used as a nightclub or a theatre, for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).

The discount is available for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 only, with the exception of cinemas and live music venues which are limited to 2020/2021 only, and is subject to State Aid de minimis limits (please read our State aid rules page for more information).

For the purpose of this discount, we do not consider the following to be retail use:

  • Financial services (banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)

  • Other services (estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)

  • Medical services (vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)

  • Professional services (solicitors, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisers, tutors)

  • Post office sorting offices

  • Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public

Eligibility ceases on any day when the criteria are not met, or on 31 March 2021 (whichever is the sooner).

Important note

The Business Rates Retail Discount is not an ongoing reduction. This scheme relates to 2019 and 2020 only, unless an extension is agreed by the government.

How to apply

We will apply relief to all ratepayers who we believe meet the qualifying criteria, based on information we already hold. If you have not received a discount and believe that you should qualify, please email brates@guildford.gov.uk.

How we calculate the 2020/2021 discount

The discount is half of the bill after mandatory reliefs and other discretionary reliefs, with the exception of any localism relief not covered by section 31 grant and 2020 pubs discount, which we apply after the retail discount.

We assess eligibility and calculate the discount on a daily basis. The calculation is V/2, where V represents the daily charge for the hereditament for the chargeable day after the application of any mandatory relief and any other discretionary reliefs, except hardship relief and pub discount.

We ignore any previous year adjustments when calculating the retail discount.

We will recalculate the discount if there is a retrospective change to eligibility. For example a backdated increase in rateable value in future years that takes the property above the £51,000 threshold, or a reduction which reduces the gross rates payable.

Ratepayers that occupy more than one property will be entitled to relief for each eligible property, subject to State Aid De Minimis limits.