Hardship rate relief 

In exceptional circumstances, we can give hardship relief to a ratepayer in difficulty. Hardship relief is a discount on the rates payable for a specific period. It's a discretionary relief, which means it's not guaranteed.

You might be able to get hardship relief if your business is suffering unexpected hardship (financial or otherwise) and all the following apply:

  • the circumstances leading to the hardship are both beyond the control of the business and outside of the normal risks associated with running a business
  • the difficulties are temporary and the business has a good chance of being viable in the long term
  • the business might fail if we don't give hardship relief

You must be able to show you are taking reasonable steps to help yourself. We would expect you as a business owner to do everything you can to tackle the problems you are facing. This might mean, for example, getting business advice, reducing overheads, reviewing pricing, offering discounts, extending the range of stock or services, or negotiating with creditors.

You can't get hardship relief to help establish a new business, unless the viability of the business is threatened by events you couldn't reasonably have foreseen.

How much hardship relief businesses can get

If we decide to give a discount, you could get up to 100% off your bill.

State aid rules

Discretionary rates relief usually counts as state aid. The law says you can't have more than €200,000 in state aid (including EU aid) over a rolling three year period. You must tell us if you've had any other state aid.

How to apply for hardship rate relief

To apply, complete and return a hardship relief application form (PDF, 234KB). You'll need to include the following:

  • audited or independently verified accounts from the last two years
  • copies of your last three months' bank statements
  • a copy of any business plan
  • a brief history of your business
  • a cash flow forecast for the next 12 months

What happens next

We'll consider your application taking into account what you tell us about the situation and the efforts you are making to help yourself. As hardship relief is a discretionary relief, we also have to consider whether giving you relief is good use of Council Tax payer's money.

We look at what's reasonable financially and also at whether the loss of the business would harm the local community. We're more likely to give hardship relief in situations such as:

  • where jobs will be lost if we don't
  • where a business provides the only goods or services of a particular type in the local area
  • where the business supplies specialist goods or services that aren't widely available 

Once we've made our decision, we'll send you a new bill or let you know why you can't get a discount.

We try to make decisions within 4 weeks of getting all the information.

If you disagree with our decision, you can appeal.

Renewing hardship rate relief

Hardship rate relief doesn't renew automatically, but you can reapply.