The 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 75% relief, up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business.

Hereditaments that meet the eligibility for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure scheme will be occupied hereditaments which meet all of the following conditions for the chargeable day:

They are wholly or mainly being used:

  1. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas or live music venues
  2. for assembly and leisure; or
  3. as hotels, guest & boarding premises or self-catering accommodation

Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues mean:

1. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public:

  • Shops (such as: florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets, etc)
  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/display rooms (such as: carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
  • Car/caravan show rooms
  • Second-hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)

2. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • Hair and beauty services (such as: hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc)
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire

3, Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public:

  • Restaurants
  • Takeaways
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Bars

 4. Hereditaments which are being used as cinemas

 5. Hereditaments that are being used as live music venues:

  • Live music venues are hereditaments wholly or mainly used for the performance of live music for the purpose of entertaining an audience
  • Hereditaments cannot be considered a live music venue for the purpose of business rates relief where a venue is wholly or mainly used as a nightclub or a theatre, for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended)
  • Hereditaments can be a live music venue even if used for other activities, but only if those other activities (i) are merely ancillary or incidental to the performance of live music (e.g. the sale/supply of alcohol to audience members) or (ii) do not affect the fact that the primary activity for the premises is the performance of live music (e.g. because those other activities are insufficiently regular or frequent, such as a polling station or a fortnightly community event)
  • There may be circumstances in which it is difficult to tell whether an activity is a performance of live music or, instead, the playing of recorded music. Although we would expect this would be clear in most circumstances, guidance on this may be found in Chapter 16 of the statutory guidance issued in April 2018 under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.

Assembly and leisure means:

  1. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of sport, leisure and facilities to visiting members of the public (including for the viewing of such activities):
  • Sports grounds and clubs
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Nightclubs
  • Sport and leisure facilities
  • Stately homes and historic houses
  • Theatres
  • Tourist attractions
  • Gyms
  • Wellness centres, spas, massage parlours
  • Casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls
  1. Hereditaments that are being used for the assembly of visiting members of the public:
  • Public halls
  • Clubhouses, clubs and institutions

Hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation means:

  1. Hereditaments where the non-domestic part is being used for the provision of living accommodation as a business:
  • Hotels, guest and boarding houses
  • Holiday homes
  • Caravan parks and sites

To qualify for the relief the hereditament should be wholly or mainly being used for the above qualifying purposes. In a similar way to other reliefs (such as charity relief), this is a test on use rather than occupation. Therefore, hereditaments which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief.

The list set out above is not intended to be exhaustive as it would be impossible to list the many and varied uses that exist within the qualifying purposes.

The list below sets out the types of uses that the government does not consider to be an eligible use for the purpose of this discount. Again, this list is not exhaustive.

  1. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:
  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers, betting shops)
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/financial advisers, employment agencies, estate agents, letting agents)
  • Post office sorting offices

 2. Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public

The cash cap and subsidy control

Under the cash cap, no ratepayer can in any circumstances exceed the £110,000 cash cap across all of their hereditaments in England.

Where a ratepayer has a qualifying connection with another ratepayer then those ratepayers should be considered as one ratepayer for the purposes of the cash caps. A ratepayer shall be treated as having a qualifying connection with another:

  1. where both ratepayers are companies, and
  • one is a subsidiary of the other, or
  • both are subsidiaries of the same company; or

 2. where only one ratepayer is a company, the other ratepayer (the “second ratepayer”) has such an interest in that company as would, if the second ratepayer were a company, result in its being the holding company of the other.

Furthermore, the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Scheme is likely to amount to subsidy. To the extent that a local authority is seeking to provide relief that falls below the Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) thresholds, the Subsidy Control Act allows an economic actor (e.g. a holding company and its subsidiaries) to receive up to £315,000 in a 3-year period (consisting of the 2023/24 year and the 2 previous financial years). MFA subsidies cumulate with each other and with other subsidies that fall within the category of ‘Minimal or SPEI financial assistance’. Expanded Retail Discount granted in 2021/22 does not count towards the £315,000 allowance but BEIS COVID-19 business grants and any other subsidies claimed under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement should be counted.

6 December 2023