Decision details

Business Rates Update

Decision Maker: Shared Revenues and Benefits Joint Committee

Decision status: Information Only

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Purpose of Report


To provide the Shared Revenues and Benefits Joint Committee with an update on current issues within non-domestic rates, related to City of Lincoln Council, North Kesteven District Council and West Lindsey District Council.




That the content of the report be noted.


Alternative Options Considered and Rejected




Reason for Decision


The report focused on the changes announced as a result of Covid-19 and the support provided to businesses in the form of relief, – as grants were not directly paid by the Revenues and Benefits Shared Service, these were not covered in this report. The report also focused on the financial impact of recent appeals and reductions to rateable values.


Focus for both Government and billing authorities since the last meeting of Joint Committee had been a continuing response to Covid-19 measures announced since 11 March 2020.


The following updates were noted:


Expanded Retail Discount


At the budget on 27 October 2021 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a Government package of business rate measures to support businesses in England.


For 2022/23 the Chancellor set out:


  • A new relief for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties with 50% relief on rates bills up to £110,000 per business


  • A freezing of the multipliers at 49.9p (small business multiplier) and 51.2p (standard multiplier)


  • The Transitional Relief and Supporting Small Business Schemes would be extended into 2022-23 as a discretionary scheme


  • The scope of the discount for 2022/23 would return to pre-Covid-19 eligibility retail properties. Hospitality and leisure properties would continue to remain in scope, and the Rateable Value continued to be uncapped.


Eligibility criteria was set out by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), issued to local authorities on 20 December 2021 as detailed at paragraphs 4.2-4.4 of the officer’s report.


Government would reimburse LA’s that used their discretionary relief powers under Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (amended). LA’s had already completed their NDR1 for 2021/22.


In terms of Expanded Retail Discount (ERD), the table at paragraph 4.6 of the officer’s report reflected the significant reduction in the amounts awarded during 2022/23 compared to 2021/22 and 2020/21 (2020/21-100%, 2021/22-100% (April, May & June), then 66%, and 2022/ the end of Quarter 1


Discount for Businesses Affected by Covid-19


On 25 March 2021, the Government announced funding of £1.5 billion for businesses affected by Covid-19. The detail of the scheme was announced on 15 December 2021 with funding amounts allocated for each authority of £2,711,060 for City of Lincoln Council, £1,719,343 for North Kesteven District Council and £1,408,044 for West Lindsey District Council


Brief guidance from the Government stated that Local Authorities would be responsible for designing the discretionary relief schemes that were to operate in their areas as detailed at paragraph 5.3 of the officer’s report. 


Following discussions, guidelines for Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey, Covid Additional Relied Fund (CARF) schemes were agreed.


Round 1 application closed on 31 March 2022 with those accounts that met the criteria of losses of 30% or more had been awarded 100% CARF relief for their 2021/22 liability.


Due to the low take up in Round 1, Round 2 of the application process was opened inviting businesses as advertised on social media  to claim if they had 20% or more in losses by 31 July 2022.


Steps were now being taken to further promote the scheme with the aim of significantly increasing take-up of these funds.


Fire Stations and Hospitals - Potential Reductions in Rateable Value


On 4 December 2020, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) advised all local authorities that they might see changes in the rateable values of hospitals and fire stations, with reductions on average of around 10% on hospitals; and 9% on fire stations, subject to wide variation dependent on the age of the properties.


On 20 May 2021 the VOA advised that following a challenge to the proposed rateable values of court buildings, average reductions in rateable values of 18% would be expected, with the reductions applying from 1 April 2017. 1970’s buildings may have higher reductions of around 28%.These had now been amended as per the Valuation Office schedule.


Business Rates Review


The final report for a Business Rates Review was also published at the Budget. The Budget and the Review committed in the longer term to improvements to the Business Rates system – which included;


·         More frequent revaluations, moving to a revaluation every three years starting from the next revaluation which would come into force on 1st April 2023, the next being 1st April 2026 and so on.


·         The process of revaluation would start approximately 2 years before the new valuations come into force. For the revaluation due on 1st April 2023, the rateable value would be assessed based on the rental evidence on 1st April 2021. There would be a new duty on the ratepayer to provide the Valuation Office with the information


·         A new relief would be provided to support investments in property improvements. It was expected that this would include a 12 month exemption on an increase in the rateable value where a property was improved. However, the final detail of this was not available at this time and would be reported as soon as this was known.


·         There was a new exemption and relief to support green technologies announced. Unfortunately, again, the announcement was made without any of the detail available and this would be reported as soon as this was known. A technical consultation had been announced on these points and we would respond to this when it was available.

Publication date: 16/11/2022

Date of decision: 08/09/2022

Decided at meeting: 08/09/2022 - Shared Revenues and Benefits Joint Committee

Accompanying Documents: