Distribution of Discretionary Rate Relief for Businesses

Closed 17 Jul 2017

Opened 30 Jun 2017

Feedback updated 29 Jan 2018

We asked

How Winchester City Council should distribute the government grant for the discretionary business rates relief scheme to support businesses affected by the revaluation of rateable values.

The consultation information and questionnaire were published on Citizen Space between 30 June – 17 July 2017.

In order to inform businesses about the consultation we notified the Winchester BID, Chamber of Commerce, Hampshire County Council, Police & Crime Commissioner and Hampshire Fire & Rescue Authority. We also issued a press release on the Council’s website via the homepage and the Business Rates web pages.

You said

We received 26 responses, of which:

  • 92% agreed that the property should be in the 2017 valuation list as at 1st April 2017
  • 85% agreed that the Council should restrict relief to those hereditaments where the increase in rates is greater than £500
  • 92% agreed all hereditaments must be occupied
  • We asked if the relief should be limited to hereditaments with a rateable value below a certain level as the higher the cap the smaller the share of relief per business:
    • 81% said the rate should be capped at £200,000
    • 4% said it should be capped at £300,000
    • 4% said it should be capped at £400,000
    • 11% said that there should be on cap at all
  • 81% agreed that national businesses with multiple hereditaments in the Winchester District should be excluded from the scheme
  • The breakdown for the preferred way for the Council to spread the relief available over the four year transition period, if the government were to allow it, is as follows:
    • 65% wanted to spread the total relief evenly over four years
    • 27% wanted to front load the relief so that a larger percentage of the total is paid early, and decreases each year
    • 8% wanted to back load the relief so that a larger percentage of the total is paid later, and increases each year
  • 77% agreed that, in order to ensure that everyone receives an equitable proportion of relief, the same percentage of the increase in business rates (in cash terms) is awarded to all ‘qualifying hereditaments’.

We did

Except for the criteria detailed about the 'preferred way for the Council to spread the relief', the Council designed the scheme that followed the majority response in all cases. In respect of the above mention point, the government did not allow Councils’ in the end to spread the relief that was allocated to them via a grant. If the relief was not awarded in the year that the government allocated the grant the Council would be required to fund any overpayment of the relief.


At the Budget on 8 March 2017, the Government announced additional funding for councils to establish a discretionary business rates relief scheme to support businesses across the country which were affected by the latest revaluation of rateable values. Following the Budget, the Government provided a consultation document for responses, which closed on 7th April, and can be found here.

The Government have confirmed the value of the grant for Winchester and this is set out below.

Local authority 2017-2018 Gross bill increase (given property criteria) (£000s) Amount of discretionary pot awarded (£000s)
2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21
Winchester 4,503 530 257 106 15


The Government’s consultation also stated that the Local Authority’s conditions of award must include the ability to recalculate the relief in the event of a change in rateable value and that it must consult with major precepting authorities.

The Council’s preferred option for distributing the relief is highlighted in this consultation and has attempted to comply with Government’s intention as well as reflecting on the district’s businesses. Our principle is that the scheme is easy to administer in order to make payment swift to assist businesses.

Please note that the Council has the right to recover overpaid discretionary relief when a successful appeal or changes by the Valuation Office Agency have reduced a business’s rateable value. The adjusted rateable value must cause a reduction in the increase of rates used to calculate the discretionary relief.

Why your views matter

The Government believes that local authorities are best placed to judge the particular circumstances of local ratepayers and direct the funding where it is most needed to support local economies. The Government will allocate the available funding to each billing authority area based on assumptions about how authorities will target their relief scheme.


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