Woking Borough Council’s discretionary relief

In 2017 the government announced established a £300 million discretionary business rate relief fund which allowed local councils to develop local funding schemes to help businesses facing rising bills as a result of a national revaluation of all business properties.

To determine the funding amounts for each council, the government used a formula which considered cases where the property’s 2017 to 2018 bill (before all reliefs) had increased by more than 12.5% and excluded properties with rateable values of £200,000 and over.

The funding for the scheme is spread over four years. Woking’s funding allocation from 2017 to 2021 is: 

2017 to 2018£288,000 
2018 to 2019£140,000
2019 to 2020£58,000
2020 to 2021£8,000

The scheme does not replace any other relief. We may review and amend the scheme (both in eligibility and amount of awards) at any time, especially with a view to the amount awarded and the eligibility criteria each year.

Who qualified

We compared a property’s 2016 to 2017 full annual charge on 31 March 2017 with the property’s 2017 to 2018 full annual charge, based on the rateable value following revaluation in force on 1 April 2017.

Our discretionary relief scheme only considered awards where the 2017 to 2018 bill increased by more than 12.5% and the 1 April 2017 rateable value was less than £200,000.

We did not consider the following business ratepayers for this relief.

  • Empty properties. It is our policy to encourage empty properties to be brought back into use.
  • New rate payers liable on or after 1 April 2017. New ratepayers were not affected by the rate increases.
  • Ratepayers with properties with a rateable value below £20,000 on 1 April 2017. As part of the revaluation the national business rates scheme provides a number of reliefs for small businesses, including: capping increase to maximum of 5% for those small properties with a rateable value of below £20,000, plus all small business with rateable value below £15,000 receive tapered relief up to 100% of the charge.
  • Precepting authorities and government departments. Relief cannot be awarded to a precepting authority, for example, Woking Borough Council, Surrey County Council and Surrey Police.