Business rates discretionary policy

The purpose of this policy is to determine the level of discretionary relief payable under the new discretionary rates relief that have been provided by Government with effect from 1 April 2023.

The Government has provided the council with funding to assist those ratepayers who meet the qualifying criteria for each or any of the new reliefs:

  • Retail, hospitality and leisure business rates relief scheme.
  • Supporting small business rates relief scheme

Expanded retail discount 2023-24

At the Autumn Statement on 17 November 2022 the Chancellor announced the introduction of a new business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure properties.

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.

We will automatically apply the discount to properties that we think will qualify.  If you feel your business fits the criteria for the discount and have not received it, please apply using the link below: 

If  you have been granted relief and your business is over the £110,000 cash cap, then please email

Apply for the expanded retail discount 2023-24

Small business rate relief

You can get small business rate relief if:

  • Your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000
  • Your business only uses one property - you may still be able to get relief if you use more

You won’t pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

For properties with a rateable value of £12,001 to £15,000, the rate of relief is reduced on a sliding scale from 100% to 0%.

Rural business relief

You could get rural rate relief if your business is in a rural area with a population below 3,000.

You won’t pay business rates if your business is in an eligible area and either:

  • Is in a place on our rural settlement list
  • Is the only business of that type in the settlement
  • Has a rateable value of £8,500 or less (£12,500 or less for public houses and petrol filling stations).

Apply for rural rate relief

Please find below a full list of rural settlements.

Mandatory Charitable rate relief & Discretionary rate relief

Legislative requirements (Sections 43 & 47 Local Government Finance Act 1988):

Mandatory Relief for Charitable Organisations and Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (80% of charge) 

  • the ratepayer must be a charity or trustees for a charity or a registered community amateur sports club, and
  • the property must be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes or for the purposes of the club or other registered clubs
  • if the property is unoccupied, it must appear that when next used it will be wholly or mainly for charitable purposes or for the purposes of the club or other registered clubs.

In the case of Charity shops the property must be wholly or mainly used for the sale of goods donated to the charity and the proceeds (after deduction of expenses) must be applied for the purposes of the charity.

Further information regarding Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Discretionary Rate Relief for Non-Profit Making Organisations (up to 100% of charge).

Charitable Organisations and Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (up to 20% of charge - in addition to 80% Mandatory Relief).

Where the property does not qualify for mandatory relief, the Council is still able to consider the award of discretionary rate relief under section 47 of the LGFA 1988.

The Council has a discretion to grant relief of up to 100% to certain non-profit making bodies. To be eligible for consideration, the ratepayer must be a non-profit making organisation and meet the criteria set out in the EHDC Discretionary policy.

To apply for Mandatory and/or Discretionary relief, please complete our application form and then post it in to the office addressed to Revenues Team, EHDC, PO Box 310, Petersfield, GU32 9HN.

If you have any queries regarding your application please telephone 01730 223 4400 and ask for the business rates team or send an email to

Exempt buildings

Certain properties are exempt from business rates.

You may not have to pay business rates on:

  • Agricultural land and buildings, including fish farms
  • Buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people
  • Buildings registered for public religious worship or church halls

Part-occupied properties relief

If your business only uses part of a property, you may be able to get a discount.

The Valuation Office will work out the rateable values of the occupied and unoccupied parts. You will then pay full rates on the occupied part, with relief for the unoccupied part.

This reduction is limited to a maximum of 3 months for non industrial buildings, or 6 months for industrial buildings, unless a part of the property has a rateable value of less than £2,900, in which case you will continue to receive the discount until the end of the financial year (31st March).

Empty properties

You may have to pay the full amount of business rates on empty non-domestic properties.

The charge begins after the property has been empty for 6 months for industrial properties, and 3 months for all other types of property.

Some properties can get extended empty property relief:

  • Industrial premises (eg warehouses) are exempt for a further 3 months
  • Listed buildings - until they’re reoccupied
  • Buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 - until they’re reoccupied
  • Properties owned by charities - only if the property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes
  • Community amateur sports clubs buildings - only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club

Hardship relief

East Hampshire District Council occasionally reduces a bill because of hardship. When deciding on this, we will consider things such as the benefits the business provides to the local community and its profitability.

Extension of transitional relief and supporting small business relief for small and medium properties 

At the Budget on 27 October 2021, the government announced that it would extend the current transitional relief scheme and the supporting small business scheme (SSB) for one year to the end of the current revaluation cycle. 

The scheme will restrict increases in bills to 15% for businesses with small properties (up to and including £20,000 rateable value) and 25% for medium properties (up to and including £100,000 rateable value). 

Properties that will benefit are those with a rateable value up to and including £100,000 who would have received transitional relief and/or SSB in 2022-23. In line with the existing thresholds in the transitional relief scheme, the £100,000 rateable value threshold should be based on the rateable value shown for 1 April 2017 or the substituted day in the cases of splits and mergers. 

This relief will be automatically added and will be detailed on your bill.