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.

Subsidy control

Hardship relief may be subject to the Minimal Financial Assistance limits under the Subsidy Control Act.  This means no recipient can receive over £315,000 over a 3-year period (consisting of the current financial year and the 2 previous financial years). Extended Retail Discounts granted in 2021-22 do not count towards the limit. Covid business grants received from local government and any other subsidy claimed under the Minimal Financial Assistance or Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit over the 3-year period should be counted.  

How to apply for hardship rate relief

Service interruption

Due to essential maintenance, the Cheshire East online forms service will be unavailable from 7:00am Friday 1 March to 9:00am Monday 4 March 2024. Normal service will be restored after this time. We apologise for any inconvenience.

You can apply for hardship rate relief by filling in our online form

Apply for Business Rates relief

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.  

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Contact Business Rates

Contact us

Customer Service Business Rates Team available for telephone enquiries:
Monday - Friday, 9:00 - 13:00

0300 123 5013

Revenues Service
Cheshire East Council
PO Box 622


Page last reviewed: 28 February 2024