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Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, in the Budget on 11 March 2020 the Government announced that it would:

  • increase the discount to 100% from the 1 April 2020
  • extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors
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This relief will apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020/21.

There will be no rateable value limit on the relief.

There’s no need to contact us to apply for the discount.

Now that we have received Government guidance about the expanded retail relief, we are working to identify the accounts and to award the relief and send recalculated bills. These will be issued as soon as possible.

Where any adjustments result in an account going into credit, a refund will be issued as soon as possible.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

More detailed examples include:

  • Retail properties 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)


  • Retail properties 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
    • Employment agencies
    • Estate agents and letting agents
    • Betting shops


  • Retail properties 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


  • Retail properties which are being used as cinemas
  • Retail properties that are being used as live music venues
  • Properties 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  


  • Properties that are being used for the assembly of visiting members of the public.
    • Public halls
    • Clubhouses, clubs and institutions


  • Properties where the non-domestic part is being used for the provision of living accommodation as a business:  
    • Hotels, Guest and Boarding House
    • Holiday homes
    • Caravan parks and sites

To qualify for the relief the property 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, properties which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief. 

For the avoidance of doubt, businesses which have closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this 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. There will also be mixed uses.

However, it is intended to be a guide Council’s to determine for themselves whether particular properties not listed are broadly similar in nature to those above and, if so, to consider them eligible for the relief.

Conversely, properties that are not broadly similar in nature to those listed above should not be eligible for the relief. 

As this is a measure for 2020/21 only, the Government is not changing the legislation relating to the reliefs available to properties.

Central government will reimburse billing authorities for the actual cost to them under the rates retention scheme of the relief that falls within the definitions in the Expanded Retail Discount guidance.

The total amount of government-funded relief available for each property for 2020/21 under this scheme is 100% of the bill, after mandatory reliefs and, other discretionary reliefs.

Ratepayers that occupy more than one property will be entitled to relief for each of their eligible properties.

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 relief.

  • Properties 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)
    • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
    • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers)
    • Post office sorting offices 
  • Properties that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public

Whilst the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the Government and the EU provides that during a transition period State aid rules will continue to apply as now and will be subject to control by the EU Commission as at present.

A new hereditament created as a result of a split or merger during the 2020/21 financial year, or where there is a change of use, will be considered afresh for the retail discount.

As we receive more information we will update this page, so please check this website for further updates.