National non-domestic rates (NNDR) discretionary rate relief policy - rate relief for businesses

As part of our role in the administration of national non-domestic rates (NNDR), we have several areas where it can exercise its discretion to provide reductions to the amounts of business rates that are due to be paid (i.e. discretionary rate relief).

Changes to local government finance now mean that the income from business rates more directly impacts on our financial position. As part of the central government funding process for local authorities and our involvement in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire business rates pooling arrangements that have been in place since 1 April 2013, we retain approximately 28% of any business rates income received that is in excess of the baseline established by central government. Conversely, our income is reduced by approximately 28% for any reductions in business rates awarded such as discretionary rate relief.

The granting of any relief may therefore impact upon the provision of other services and is accordingly assessed against its affordability to us and how the business contributes to our vision and priorities as detailed in our council plan.

The Local Government Finance Act 1988 provides for discretionary relief to be available in five areas. Discretionary relief can be awarded as a top up to mandatory relief or in its own right.

The five areas are:

  • discretionary rate relief (charities or non-profit organisations)
  • discretionary rural rate relief
  • partly occupied properties relief
  • hardship relief
  • relief under the Localism Act 2011