In some circumstances, Business Rates can be significantly reduced:

Small Business Rate Relief

You can get small business relief if:

  • you only occupy one business property in England with a rateable value below £15,000
  • the relief does not apply to empty properties
  • from 1 April 2017 you will get 100% relief for a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less, meaning you will not pay any business rates for it
  • for properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £14,999, the rate of relief is awarded on a sliding scale decreasing from 100% to 0%. For example:
Rateable Value Percentage Reduction
Up to £12,000 100%
£12,750 75%
£13,500 50%
£14,250 25%
£15,000 and over 0%
  • you occupy more than one property, and the rateable values of your additional  properties are below £2,900 and the aggregate rateable value of all the properties (including the main one) is less than £20,000. If this is the case, you would only qualify  for relief on the main property
  • if you are currently receiving relief and occupy an additional property with a rateable value above £2,900, the existing relief would continue for one year

If your property has an rateable value below £51,000, your business rates will be calculated using the small business multiplier instead of the standard one. This is the case even if you have multiple properties. The higher multiplier will apply if you are liable to pay rates on an empty property or if you are in receipt of a mandatory relief.

Prior to 1 April 2017:

  • you only occupy one business property in England with a rateable value below £12,000


  • you occupy more than one property and the rateable values of your additional properties are below £2,600, plus the aggregate value of all your properties is below £18,000. If this is the case, you would only qualify for relief on one property
  • if you are currently receiving relief and occupy an additional property with a rateable value above £2,600, the existing relief would continue for one year

Small Business Rate Relief is calculated as follows:

  • rateable value below £6,000 – Maximum 100% relief
  • £6,001 to £11,999 – Relief gradually reduced on a sliding scale, for example £7,500 is 75%, £9,000 is 50% and £10,500 is 25%
  • £12,000 to £18,000 – No reduction but a lower multiplier is used to calculate the bill

To apply, download the Small Business Rates Relief Form.

Or contact the Business Rates Office.

Re-occupation Relief

Businesses moving into premises which have been empty for more than 12 months and were previously in retail use will be eligible for 50% relief off the full charge.

The first day of occupation must be between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016 and will run for a maximum of 18 months. The relief is granted on the property so that if a new occupier moves in within the 18 months, the relief will continue to the end of the term.

The Government did not extend this relief over the original two years and there will be no new awards from 1st April 2016.

Charities and other non-profit making bodies

Charities - along with certain other qualifying organisations likes sports and youth clubs – can be entitled to 80-100% relief from Business Rates on properties.

Apply for charity rate relief


Discretionary rate relief can be awarded if you’re suffering financial hardship and struggling to pay Business Rates.

Apply for hardship relief

Partly occupied properties

A ratepayer is liable for the full charge, whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. However, a discretionary award can be made for relief on the unoccupied part.

Apply for this relief

Transitional Rate Relief 2017

Transitional arrangements

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) reassesses and updates the rateable value of all non-domestic (business) properties usually every 5 years. This process is called a revaluation.

The next national revaluation comes into effect on 1 April 2017, and all properties will have had their rateable value assessed on the valuation date of 1 April 2015.

As a result of the 2017 revaluation of non-domestic properties, some ratepayers are subject to substantial increases in amounts payable, and others, substantial reductions.

Transitional arrangements help to phase in the effects of these changes by set limits restricting increases and reductions in bills after a revaluation. This is called ‘Transitional Relief’ and limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value x the multiplier) over a five year period.

The scheme only applies to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after the revaluation date, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of the bill that applies to any increase in rateable value due to those changes.

Any transitional adjustments affecting what a ratepayer pays are shown on the front of the rates bill.

The basis for calculating transitional arrangements in any year is the amount of business rates payable on a property as at 31 March of the previous financial year, after taking into account inflation.

The limit by which the business rates for a property may increase or decrease from one year to the next , depends on which of the following categories the property falls into:

  • Large Property - rateable value  less than £100,000
  • Medium Property - rateable value more than £20,000 and less than or equal to £100,000
  • Small Property - rateable value less than or equal to £20,000

The limits set for increases in business rates are as follows:

Year Large (more than £100,000) Medium (£20,000 to £100,000) Small (less than £20,000)
2017-18 42% 12.5% 5%
2018-19 32% 17.5% 7.5%
2019-20 49% 20% 10%
2020-21 16% 25% 15%
2021-22 6% 25% 15%

The limits set for decreases in business rates are as follows:

Year Large (more than £100,000) Medium (£20,000 to £100,000) Small (less than £20,000)
2017-18 4.1% 10% 20%
2018-19 4.6% 15% 30%
2019-20 5.9% 20% 35%
2020-21 5.8% 25% 55%
2021-22 4.8% 25% 55%

Birkenhead Business Improvement District (BID)

Birkenhead Business Improvement District (BID), known as Birkenhead First, will run for 5 years from 2016-2021. The aim is to improve the area. Wirral Council is acting on behalf of the BID and billing and collecting the BID levy of 1.5% of your Rateable Value.

Birkenhead BID is a company, operating under the umbrella of the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

Relief for local newspapers

The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year for 2 years from 1st April 2017, to office space occupied by local newspapers. This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits.

The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Eligibility criteria for this relief is set out in a guidance note: “The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers”.

Business Rates – 2017 budget announcement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced three measures to help businesses in his budget statement on 8 March 2017. These are mainly intended to help those affected by the revaluation of properties, which is effective from 1 April, 2017.  These measures are:

  1. Businesses which lose some or all of their small business rate relief will have increases in their bills limited to £600 per year.
  2. Eligible pubs will receive a £1,000 discount on their bill for 2017-18. The Government has extended the scheme for an additional year 2018-19.
  3. Local authorities have been provided with a fund of £300 million to support businesses that face the steepest increases in their rates bill as a result of the revaluation. The government is consulting on how this scheme will work, but we expect the details of who will benefit will be left to local authorities to decide. Each authority has been allocated a share with which to design and implement a scheme to deliver targeted support to ratepayers. The £300m will cover the 4 years from 2017-18: £175m in 2017-18; £85m in 2018-19; £35m in 2019-20 and £5m in 2020-21.

View the local authority allocations

Wirral's share in 2017-18 was £532, 000 and in 2018-19 £258,000. In 2017-18,  this local discretionary relief covered the increase between 2016-17 and 2017-18 for locally based firms and for 2018-19, 35% of the increase between 2017-18 and 2018-19 will be awarded.

Find out more about Business Rates