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24th March 2014

Business rates – check you receive your rate relief says BBPA, and new advice for help on business rates for pubs affected by floods


With business rates bills an ongoing concern for pubs, the BBPA is urging publicans to check that they receive the retail business rate relief discounts that were announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, last December.  Local authorities are responsible for setting up a scheme to administer the retail rate relief. If business rates statements do not show the discount, or there is no information about the discount, then pubs should contact their local authority.




Reductions were announced of up to £1,000 for retail businesses with a rateable value of £50,000 or lower. This will apply in 2014-15 and 2015-16. This is known as ‘retail relief’. Pubs are listed as a retail business eligible for this relief.




The relief is discretionary and the decision on whether or not it should be granted lies with the local authority. However, as the relief is funded by the Government, it is expected that most, if not all, local authorities will apply the relief to pubs.




Importantly, retail relief will be applied to the net rates bill. Therefore other rate reliefs, such as Small Business Rate Relief, will be applied before the £1,000 discount. If the net value payable falls below £1,000 then the annual payment level will be set to zero.




Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, comments:




“With business rates bills still a big burden, and with local councils responsible for administering the new rate relief, it is important to check that your local authority is providing the right amount.”




With the recent floods, the BBPA is also advising premises in flood-affected areas to take advantage of new support measures introduced by the Government, including a three-month rates ‘holiday’ for those whose trade was hit.




These are set out in the Government’s recently updated ‘Flood Support Schemes Guidance Note’, and include business rates flooding relief, repair and renew grants, and further support for significant loss of trade due to floods. The BBPA has produced a template letter for use in approaching local authorities to apply for these support schemes.








For further information please contact:


David Wilson: Public Affairs Director Tel: 020 7627 9151


Neil Williams, Head of Media Tel: (020) 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779


Gareth Barrett, Public Affairs Manager (020) 7627 9154




Notes to editors:


The British Beer & Pub Association is the UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector.  Its members account for 96 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and own half of Britain’s 50,000 pubs.




As retail relief is regarded as state-funded support to business there are some restrictions in place, but this is unlikely to affect individual operators. Over a three-year period, a business is not permitted to receive over €200,000 in state aid. Some local authorities may ask the ratepayer to confirm that they have not received this value in state aid.




Floods – below is a summary of how to access support




Business rates flooding relief:


Businesses will receive 100% rate relief for three months where the property has been flooded in whole or in part, the business had its trade affected and the rateable value is less than £10 million. This applies to a business that is flooded on any day between 1st December 2013 and 31st March 2014.




The three months of relief will commence from the first day that the business is impacted by the flooding and will apply irrespective of how long the flooding affects the business.




Ratepayers that have more than one property are entitled to relief on all properties affected.




The local authority will make an assessment of the disruption to trade and this should include ‘the impact of the flooding in the full context of all business activities undertaken at the hereditament. Very small or insignificant impacts should be ignored.’




To receive the discount the business should contact their local authority.




Repair and renew grant:


The Government announced that grants of up to £5,000 will be made available ‘to fund additional flood resilience or resistance measures for homes and businesses that have been flooded since 1st December 2013.’ This is for work that is to prepare the property against future flooding above and beyond standard repairs that would be covered by insurance.




The scheme is administered by local authorities so companies that believe they are eligible should contact their local authority.




Business support scheme:


Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to access further support if they have been affected by flooding and ‘suffered a significant loss of trade’. Examples of the type of support are ‘immediate clean-up costs, materials, exceptional business costs (such as hire of drying equipment) and temporary accommodation to enable these businesses to continue trading’. Business continuity planning and marketing costs may also be covered.




It is for local authorities to set up such a scheme and to determine how it operates and so therefore there will be variations in the way in which it operates, and applications will be judged on a case-by-case basis.




This support is also available for those businesses within a flood-affected area that may not have had direct damage to their business but are nonetheless adversely impacted.






Flooding rates rebate – template letter for publicans




Dear [local authority]




Re: pub/brewery name – business rates flooding relief


The recent flooding has had an impact on my business and I believe I am eligible for ‘business rates flooding relief’.




I believe my business meets the criteria as, on at least one day between 1st December 2013 and 31st March 2014:




•           My property has been flooded as a result of adverse weather conditions;


•           My business activity at the property has been adversely affected; and


•           My property’s rateable value is less than £10 million




The first day of flooding damage was [insert date] and I therefore believe I am entitled to three months of business rates relief from this date.




I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.




Yours sincerely




Neil Williams


Head of Media


British Beer & Pub Association


020 7627 9156


07974 249 779