Small retail businesses offered rate relief discount


Bedford Borough Council is offering small retail businesses a new retail rate relief discount of up to £1,000 a year for the next two years.

To qualify the business property must have a rateable value of no more than £50,000 and must be used mainly for providing retail goods or services to the general public.

From April this year, most small retail business in the borough can receive an extra discount of £1,000 off their rates bill and some businesses may not have to pay any rates at all.

The discount is available to all businesses that meet criteria set by the government. This includes most small retail businesses such as shops (including charity shops), restaurants, takeaways, cafés and pubs. The extra discount is on top of other help with rates bills such as small business rate relief and charity rate relief. The amount awarded is worked out on a daily basis up to a maximum of £1,000 for the year. If the business’ bill for the year is already less than £1,000 then the bill can be reduced to zero.

Applications can be backdated to April 1, 2014 or to the date the businesses first became the ratepayers where this was later than April 1, 2014.

Due to the government criteria the discount is not available to businesses offering financial or professional services and this includes banks and building societies, payday loans and pawn brokers. Also businesses that are not easily accessible to the public will not qualify.

However, businesses that don’t qualify could still be entitled to small business rate relief. Just some examples of those that can apply include; florists, opticians, petrol stations, garden centres, travel agents, and coffee shops.

Cllr Shan Hunt, portfolio holder for revenues and benefits, at Bedford Borough Council said: “This new discount is a welcome boost for small retailers. We’ve made it as simple as possible to apply, so please don’t miss out. Check the council’s website today to see it you qualify”.

Business can apply quickly and easily on-line at where there is also further information about which businesses are eligible.