There are a range of reductions that businesses may qualify for. You can also find further information about Business Rates on the gov.uk website. Don't forget: if you move into, out of, or within Worcester you need to let us know as this will affect your bill. Please contact us with the details.

Response to Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Central Government have recently announced new measures for the next 12 months in support of the recent events due to Coronavirus. There are two main changes that will affect business rate bills in 2020/21:

Retail discount

A 50% retail discount was to be awarded to eligible Businesses with a Rateable Value below £51,000 Rateable Value. This is now to be increased to 100% and will also include businesses within the leisure and hospitality industries.

Public House (pub) relief

Pub relief is to be introduced, providing a discount of up to £5,000 for eligible public houses, where the Rateable Value is between £51,000 and £100,000

In addition to this there has been an additional announcement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 17 March 2020, in which he stated further help will be provided for Businesses in England.

As you may be aware the Council has already prepared and posted the Business rate bills for 2020/21, based on the previously announced levels of relief.

If you are affected by these changes we will send you a new 2020/21 bill as soon as possible. Any payments already made in respect of the 2020/21 Bills for qualifying cases will be refunded.

If you are not affected by these changes, your account is correct and you should make payment as shown on your bill.

If you have any queries please call 03004 560 560 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nursery Discount

As an extraordinary response to the coronavirus, the Government announced a business rates Nursery Discount on 18 March 2020.

This relief will apply to hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and are wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which are subject to business rates in the year 2020/21. There will be no rateable value limit on the relief.

If you have not received a revised bill and believe you are eligible for this discount please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Small Business Support from Government in response to Covid 19

The spring budget 2020 announced that any small business in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) would benefit from a £3,000 support grant from the government. This has now been increased to £10,000 (as announced by the Chancellor on 17 March). A further grant of up to £25,000 will be available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value for business rates purposes of between £15,000 and £51,000.

Small Business Grants

In addition to these grants the government has announced a coronavirus business interruption loan scheme. This  will be operated by the British Business Bank.

Please check the COVID-19 Support for Business page on the GOV.UK website for updates

Hardship Relief

Businesses may be entitled to a reduction from rates if they are suffering hardship and they can show that the local community would suffer a loss if the business was to close.  

As each case needs to be determined on its merits you should contact us for further information.

Charitable and Discretionary Relief

Registered charities, charitable organisations and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC's) are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

Relief is given at 80 per cent of the bill. We have the discretion to give a further 20% relief on the remaining bill depending upon what the premises are used for.

We also have the discretion to give up to 50% discretionary relief on all or part of any rate bill for property occupied by certain non-profit making organisations for example; sports clubs, societies, village halls and youth associations.

If you wish to apply please contact us for an application form or click on the link below.

pdf Mandatory and Discretionary Rate Relief application form. (24 KB)

N.B. If your annual turnover is in excess of £250,000 or your surplus is in excess of £25,000 then you will automatically be disqualified.

You can get further information on Rate Relief by visiting the gov.uk website.

Empty property

Business Rates will not be payable for the first three months that a property is empty.  After the 3-month period rates will be charged at 100% unless the property is exempt e.g. Listed buildings, empty properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs (NB. Industrial property will be exempt for 6 months), or has a rateable value of less than the following limits (see table below):-

pto 31 March 2009 RV 2,200
1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010   RV 15,000
1 April 2010 - 31 March 2011 RV 18,000
From 1 April 2011 - 31 March 2017 RV 2,600
From 1 April 2017 RV 2,900

Please note - due to the lowering of the Rateable Value limit from 18,000 to 2,600 with effect from 01 April 2011, you may now be subject to an empty business rate charge.    

In brief, office and retail premises receive 100% relief for the first three months, and industrial and warehouse premises will receive 100% for the first six months, from when the property becomes empty. All rate relief for these properties will end after this time and Non Domestic Rates will be chargeable in full.

You can find more information about business rates at the gov.uk website.

Partially empty property

If only part of the premises is being used it may be possible to reduce the amount of business rates that are paid.

If you wish to claim this relief you should contact us immediately and we will arrange for one of our Visiting Officers to visit your premises.

The relief would stop if:

  • the unoccupied part becomes occupied
  • the property becomes completely unoccupied

Newspaper relief

Office space occupied by local newspapers can get a discount of up to £1,500 per year until 31 March 2025.

Newspaper relief can be claimed up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per property and up to state aid limits.

Rural Rate Relief

Businesses in a Rural Settlement could qualify for Mandatory or Discretionary Rural Rate Relief on their Non Domestic Rates bill.

A Rural Settlement is a defined area with a population of less than 3000.

To qualify for Mandatory Relief, the business premises must be the only Post Office, general store, or petrol filling station in the rural settlement. Food shops may also qualify for relief and do not need to be the only food shop in the rural settlement. See below for more details.

In addition to Mandatory Relief for those businesses mentioned above, we are able to grant Discretionary Relief. Other types of businesses in a rural settlement may also qualify for just the Discretionary Relief.  In all cases, the business must be used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community.  See below for more details.

A list of the areas that are designated Rural Settlements is available on our website or at our Customer Service Centre at:

Customer Service Centre
89 The High Street
Worcester
WR1 2EY

Mandatory Rural Rate Relief

To qualify for 100% Mandatory Rural Rate Relief, your business premises must:

  1. be within the boundaries of a qualifying rural settlement.
  2. have a rateable value of not more than £8,500 in the case of a Post Office, general store or food shop.
  3. have a rateable value of not more than £12,500 in the case of a petrol filling station.
  4. be used in whole or in part, as a general store, Post Office or both, or as a food shop or petrol filling station.
  5. be either the only general store, the only Post Office, the only petrol filling station in the rural settlement.

Please note: it is possible for both a general store and a Post Office in the same rural settlement to qualify for Mandatory Rural Rate Relief.

Please note: if you do not qualify for Mandatory Relief, you may still qualify for Discretionary Relief dependent on meeting certain criteria.

Discretionary Rural Rate Relief

We may grant up to 50% relief to any general store, food shop, Post Office or petrol filling station which does not qualifies for the Mandatory Rural Rate Relief.

A business can also apply for Discretionary Rural Rate Relief of 50% provided that it:

  1. is within the boundaries of a qualifying rural settlement.
  2. has a rateable value of less than £16,500.
  3. is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community, and
  4. is reasonable for us to make such a decision having regard to the interests of persons liable to pay Council Tax set by it. 

To download an application form click on one of the links below.

If you would like more information please contact us.

Supporting Small Businesses Relief

In the 2017 Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced that a new scheme of relief would be made available to those ratepayers facing large increases as a result of the loss of rural rate and small business rate relief due to the revaluation.

To support these ratepayers, the ‘Supporting Small Businesses’ relief will ensure that the increase per year is limited to the greater of:

  • a percentage increase of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 15% and 15% in 2017/18 to 2021/22 all plus inflation.  Unlike the transitional relief scheme, for the first year of the scheme the percentage increase is taken against the bill for 31 March 2017 after small business rate relief or rural rate relief; and
  • a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month).  This cash minimum increase ensures that those ratepayers paying nothing or very small amounts in 2016/17 after small business rate relief are brought into paying something

Ratepayers remain in the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme for either 5 years or until they reach the bill they would have paid without the scheme. 

This relief has been automatically applied to eligible accounts and therefore there is no formal application process, however, for any further information regarding this relief, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2017 Spring Budget Business Rates Discretionary Scheme

In the 2017 Spring Budget the Chancellor announced that the government would make available a discretionary fund of £300 million over a 4 year period to local authorities in England to design and implement a discretionary scheme to support those businesses most affected by the recent revaluation

A breakdown of the £300 million funding and Worcester City Council’s share is as follows:

Year

Total Pot

Worcester City Council's Allocation

2017/18

£175 Million

£238,000

2018/19

£85 Million

£116,000

2019/20

£35 Million

£48,000

2020/21

£5 Million

£7,000

Scheme

Worcester’s scheme takes into consideration and builds on the government’s guidelines whilst also mirroring the Council’s aspirations to ensure economic growth is supported. This scheme has been automatically applied to eligible accounts therefore businesses do not need to apply.

Qualifying Criteria

To maximise the funding available the following criteria has been used:

  • The business has had an increase in Rateable Value as a result of the recent revaluation 2017/18
  • The business has a Rateable Value under £200,000
  • The business is not part of a national chain
  • The business is not a public sector organisation or a housing association
  • The hereditaments must be occupied

The award must also comply with State Aid Law which states that an organisation cannot receive more than €200,000 of government funding over a 3 year period, as set out under the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013.

If you believe you meet the qualification criteria and have not been included in this scheme please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.