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See the latest information and advice in Exeter. We are closely monitoring the situation and working with the government and NHS, who are well prepared to deal with this virus.

Relief and Exemptions

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15. Retail discount 2020/21

Please visit our Business and Employers page for the latest advice in light of the Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.

Rate Relief for occupied retail properties

The Government announced in the Budget on 29 October 2018 that it would provide a Business Rates Retail Discount, to apply in the years 2019/20 and 2020/21. In response to the coronavirus, in the Budget on 11 March the Government announced that it would increase the discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors.

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.

Properties which have closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief.

To qualify, the retail property should be wholly or mainly used as a shop, restaurant, cafe or drinking establishment. The Council will consider each award based on individual merits and reserves the right to decline an application, or withdraw an award, where the retail property and business does not support the Council's wider objectives or is determined to be having a detrimental impact on the neighbourhood or community.

Which properties will benefit from relief?

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

a. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,

b. for assembly and leisure; or

c. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.


Eligible retail properties description

For the purposes of this discount the Council considers shops, restaurants, cafes, cinemas live music venues and drinking establishments to mean:

i. 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)

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

  • Hair and beauty services (such as: hair dressers, 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

iii. 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

iv. Hereditaments which are being used as cinemas

v. Hereditaments that are being used as live music venues


We consider assembly and leisure to mean

i. 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

ii. Hereditaments that are being used for the assembly of visiting members of the public

  • Public halls
  • Clubhouses, clubs and institutions


We consider hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation to mean

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


Ineligible retail properties descriptions

The list below sets out the types of uses that the Council does not consider to be retail use for the purpose of this relief.

i. Retail 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, bureau de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)
  • Other services (e.g. estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, tutors)
  • Post office sorting office
  • Casinos and gambling clubs

ii. Retail properties that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.

iii. Retail properties that do not support the Council’s wider objectives or have a detrimental impact on neighbourhoods and communities.


How to apply

Contact us to make an application. 


State Aid De Minimis Regulations and Business Rate Discounts

For information about State Aid de minimis please go to:


Additional Notes

Eligibility for the Retail Relief and the relief itself will be assessed and calculated on a daily basis. The Retail Relief will be applied against the net bill after all other reliefs.

Ratepayers that occupy more than one property will be entitled to relief for each of their eligible properties, subject to State Aid de minimis limits.