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More than half borough's eligible businesses yet to apply for Retail Rates Relief

Added on: 15th May, 2019 by O1

More than half borough's eligible businesses yet to apply for Retail Rates Relief

Last Updated:
Wed, 15 May 2019

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Across the London Borough of Bromley, almost 60% of businesses believed to be eligible for the "Retail" Relief have not yet applied.

The relief announced by Philip Hammond in his autumn statement last year, which followed persistent lobbying from Business Improvement Districts across the country, including Orpington 1st, came into effect this April.

Rates for eligible businesses are cut by a third for two years from 1st April 2019 - 31st March 2021. London Borough of Bromley have confirmed that just 41% of businesses believed to be eligible for the relief have applied.

A summary of the criteria for eligibility can be read below. LBB will be issuing further communications to relevant businesses but if you believe your business is eligible please download and return THIS APPLICATION FORM to LBB.

The guidelines issued by Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to the local authority state that the "retail relief" is available to businesses with a rateable value of under £51k whose premises is being used mainly or wholly for:

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

ii) the provision of the following services to visiting public:

− Hair and beauty services (such as: hair dressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc)
− Shoe repairs/ key cutting
− Travel agents
− Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
− Dry cleaners
− Launderettes
− PC/ TV/ domestic appliance repair
− Funeral directors
− Photo processing
− Tool hire
− Car hire

iii. Premises that are being used for the sale of food and/ or drink to visiting members of the public:

− Restaurants
− Takeaways
− Sandwich shops
− Coffee shops
− Pubs
− Bars

The government has advised that the following businesses will not be eligible for relief.

i. Premises that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

− Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux 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)

Generally speaking, the government also does not consider other assembly or leisure uses to be "retail" uses for the purpose of the discount. For example, cinemas, theatres and museums are outside the scope of the scheme, as are nightclubs and music venues. Premises used for sport or physical recreation (e.g. gyms) are also outside the scope of the discount.

Although welcome, the rates reduction offers short term relief to businesses, and not all businesses, and Orpington 1st, in partnership with BID colleagues across the country, will continue to push for whole sale reform of what we believe is an unfair and antiquated tax.


The BID team represented Orpington at the recent All Party Parliamentary Group meeting on Business Rates.


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