Exemptions and reliefs for business rates

2020 Budget Announcement and Expanded Retail Discount 2020-2021

In the 2020 Budget Announcement, the Government increased the amount of this award to 100%. We will shortly be re-issuing bills to reflect the increased amount automatically. You are not required to make a new application.

If you are not currently in receipt of this relief, please make an application using the details below.

Business Rates - Retail Discount 2019-20 and 2020-21

The Government has announced that it will provide a business rates Retail Discount scheme for occupied retail properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 in year 2019/20 and for 2020/21, extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors with no rateable value limit. The value of discount will be one third (33%) of the bill for 2019-2020 and for 2020/21, 100%. This will be applied after mandatory reliefs and other discretionary reliefs funded by section 31 grants have been applied. The Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21: Coronavirus Response guidance can be found to the right.

As this is a measure for 2019-20 and 2020-21 only, the Government is not changing the legislation around the reliefs available to properties. Instead the Government will, in line with the eligibility criteria set out in this guidance, reimburse local authorities that use their discretionary relief powers, introduced by the Localism Act (under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as amended) to grant relief. It will be for individual local billing authorities to adopt a local scheme and determine in each individual case when, having regard to this guidance, to grant relief under section 47. Central government will fully reimburse local authorities for the local share of the discretionary relief (using a grant under section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003).

Eligibility Criteria

Please review the Expanded Retail Discount Guidance 2020-2021 for eligibility criteria for 2020-21.

You must already have a business rates liability and/or an entry in the rating list as at 11 March 2020 to qualify.

Business that occupy serviced offices or do not have a business rates bill do not qualify for Retail Discount or the Small Business Grant Fund of £10,000 or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund of either £10,000 or £25,000.


  • Properties which are unoccupied.
  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short term loan providers)
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisers)
  • Post office sorting offices
  • The London Borough of Sutton and other precepting authorites.
  • Where the award of relief would not comply with EU law on State Aid (see below for 2019-20 only).
  • Properties that are not reasonably accessible to visting members of the public.
  • Please review the Expanded Retail Discount Guidance 2020-2021 for eligibility criteria for 2020-21 and specific exclusions.

The Business Improvement District (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. Therefore, this relief will not be applied to any percentage payment towards a BID.

State Aid

Please review the Expanded Retail Discount Guidance 2020-2021 for state aid 2020-21 suspension.


This is a London Borough of Sutton local discretionary scheme with no right of appeal on any decision made.

Takeaways - Definition and Exclusions 2019-2020 (not applicable for 2020-21)

A takeaway is an establishment where hot food is prepared for consumption elsewhere. Such establishments, unless they operate a seated service (please see below), will be excluded from obtaining this relief.

  • Pizza / pasta
  • Kebabs
  • Burgers
  • Fried or coated chicken
  • Ribs
  • Indian / tandoori
  • Chinese / noodle / wok
  • Thai
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Fish and chips
  • Snack bars / kiosks

The above list is not exhaustive and is cited for illustrative purposes only; other premises being broadly comparable will be treated as such and excluded.

The Council (where necessary) will visit to make a determination as to whether a premise will be excluded from obtaining the relief. Premises operating a seated service with table seating of 10 or more will be categorised as a restaurant for the purposes of obtaining this relief. The premises must have toilet facilities for the use of customers.

Consideration will also be given to the planning classification of the property e.g. a property with A3 usage, for example, can be used for "the sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises or of hot food for consumption off the premises".

How much relief will be available?

The total amount of government-funded relief available for each property for 2019/20 under this scheme is one third (33%) of the bill and for 2020/21 the full amount (100%), after mandatory reliefs and other discretionary reliefs funded by section 31 grants have been applied, excluding those where local authorities have used their discretionary relief powers introduced by the Localism Act which are not funded by section 31 grants. There is no relief available under this scheme for properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or more in 2019-20, but the rateable value limit is removed for 2020-21.