Exemptions and reliefs for business rates

A relief of 50% can be awarded to all qualifying properties within the designated Sutton High Street Business Improvement District area

To qualify for this relief, the premises must be a property (retail unit, office or warehouse) which is:

  1. a new business to the area, occupied, and
  2. within the designated Sutton High Street Business Improvement District area, and
  3. has a rateable value between £6,000 and £50,000, and
  4. is not among the type of retailer which the council believes should not qualify for the relief, and
  5. relief will be offered for a maximum of 24 months for applications received between 1 April 2014 to 31 December 2016
  6. the scheme will be available to small and medium sized enterprises (definition of SME - employ up to 250 people and have a turnover of up to £40m) only
  7. a business expanding their operation in Sutton and moving to significantly larger premises* will be eligible provided they identify an increase in job creation. This increase in job creation alongside the current workforce must be stated in the business's application. This will then be assessed by the Local Business Rate Relief panel as an appropriate increase in jobs in proportion to the size of the business. * A larger premise is defined by a 15% excess increase in floor space
  8. the maximum amount of relief will be 50% of the net liability after all mandatory or discretionary reliefs have been applied to account
  9. occupiers must take out a minimum 12 month lease and if the business moves out the council reserves the right to request repayment of any local business rate relief granted

Types of occupied property which can qualify for relief

1. Properties being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public, eg

  • Shops ( such as florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, chemists, supermarkets, newsagents)
  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/display rooms (such as carpet shops)
  • Car showrooms
  • Second hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Craft Shops
  • Art galleries

2. Properties being used for the provision of certain services to visiting members of the public, eg

  • Hair and beauty services (such as hair dressers, nail bars, tanning shops etc)
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • DVD/video rentals
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire

3. Properties being used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public, eg

  • Restaurants (excluding takeaways - see below for definitions and exclusions)
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Wine bars

4. Properties being used for the following agency, professional or financial services

  • Accountants
  • Solicitors
  • Insurance brokers
  • Employment agencies
  • Estate / letting agencies
  • Tutors

5. Medical services

  • Vets
  • Dentists
  • Doctors
  • Osteopaths
  • Chiropractors

This list is not definitive, and other businesses who are of a similar type to those listed above may also qualify for the local business rate relief.

Properties which do not qualify for relief

  • Takeaways (see below for definition and exclusions)
  • Banks
  • Building societies
  • Cash points
  • Bureau de change
  • Payday lenders
  • Betting shops
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Properties that may bring the scheme / area into disrepute

Any large businesses will be excluded as they are not classified as an SME.

The relief will only apply to empty properties located within the Sutton High Street designated Business Improvement District Area. Businesses setting up within this area would automatically be subject to the 1% BID levy as the levy is attached to all premises on the NNDR database. The BID legislation currently requires businesses to pay the levy and any decision to waive or reduce the BID levy is to be made by the BID Board of Directors.

Relief cannot be awarded if it will breach the State Aid. Whilst the DCLG suggests that councils should get a signed declaration from the ratepayer that any award would not breach State Aid, it is for the council to ensure that the rules are not broken and the signed declaration would not exclude the council from the consequences of breaching the rules. The DCLG will not reimburse the council for any award of relief that breaches State Aid de minimus figure of €200,000 over a three year period..

In addition to the above eligibility criteria the council will also be contacting the landlords of the relevant premises to encourage them to at least match the free period offer in initial rental. A database of landlords is currently being compiled and contact is being made to soft market test this proposition. Although this does not form part of the eligibility criteria it is important to the success of the scheme as if Sutton is willing to assist in ensuring vacant units are filled, buy in and financial assistance from the landlord should be sought to match this effort.

How to apply

An application form is available for you to download and email back to us. Guidance on applying can be found in the downloads section on the right.

More information is available on Opportunity Sutton's Business Support for New Enterprises page.