Business rate reductions

There are reductions and reliefs available to help you with the cost of your business rates: 

Retail, hospitality and leisure (RHL) relief 2024 to 2025

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors may be entitled to help with their business rates. We have identified businesses that we consider to be eligible, and relief will be shown on your bill if you qualify.

RHL Business Rates Relief scheme provides relief of 75% and up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business for the year of 2024 to 2025 only.

Eligibility criteria

Properties must be occupied, reasonably accessible to the public and wholly or mainly used:

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

The following businesses are not eligible:

  • financial services including banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change, short-term loan providers and betting shops
  • medical services including vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors
  • professional services including solicitors, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisers, employment agencies, estate agents, letting agents
  • post office sorting offices
  • those not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public. 

Awarded relief is subject to the property continuing to be eligible for relief. If your circumstances change during the year, such as the property being vacated, relief will be adjusted. 

If you have been awarded RHL relief for 2024 to 2025, you need to tell us if you:

  • do not meet (or during the year you no long meet) the qualifying conditions
  • exceed the cash cap for RHL relief
  • exceed subsidy control limits.

Download Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Policy

Read more information on RHL business rates relief on GOV.UK.

Unoccupied properties

Your business rates will not be payable in the first 3 months that a property is empty, or 6 months for industrial properties.

You will need to pay your business rates in full after this period unless another relief applies.

If an empty property is occupied for less than 13 weeks, you will not receive any further relief when the property is vacated and the full business rates will be payable.

In most cases, business rates will not be payable for unoccupied properties owned by charities or community amateur sports clubs. This is as long as the next use of the property is for charitable purposes or as a sports club.

Unoccupied properties will be exempt if the:

  • occupation is prohibited by law
  • property is a listed building
  • property is an ancient monument
  • ratepayer is a personal representative of a deceased person
  • ratepayer is bankrupt
  • rateable value is £2,899 or below.

Transitional relief

Following the revaluation in 2023, any significant increases or reductions in the amount of business rates payable will be phased in by transitional relief until the full amount is due. The relief will be awarded automatically.

Read further details on GOV.UK

Small business rate relief

All occupied properties with a rateable value of £50,999 or below that are not in receipt of any mandatory relief such as charity relief will be charged using the small business multiplier.

Small business rate relief is available for properties with a rateable value below £15,000 and the ratepayer occupies either:

  • one property
  • one main property, and other additional properties with a rateable value of £2,899 or below where the total rateable value of all properties is £19,999 or less.

The relief will only be payable on the main property and you will get 100% relief if the rateable value is £12,000 or less.

If the rateable value is above £12,000, the level of relief is reduced on a sliding scale up to £15,000 when no relief is payable.

Apply for small business rate relief

Supporting small business rate relief

You can get supporting business relief from 1 April 2023 if:

  • the amount you pay in business rates has increased due to revaluation
  • it caused you to lose small business rate relief or rural rate relief.

The relief will limit your increase in business rates to £600 for each year from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026. This will be awarded automatically if you're eligible. 

Download the Supporting small business rate relief policy

Local newspaper rate relief

A discount up to £1,500 per year is available for office space occupied by local newspapers from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2025.

We will notify qualifying businesses and automatically award relief based on the information available to us.

Charity and community amateur sports club relief

If you are a registered charity or community amateur sports club (CASC), you can apply for a business rate reduction.

Mandatory relief of 80% will be awarded as long as the property you occupy is only or mainly used for the purposes of the charity or club. We will also consider if you’re eligible for any discretionary relief for the remaining 20%.

If you are a non-profit making organisation you can apply for a business rate reduction of up to 100%. The level of discount awarded will depend on your aims and objectives.

Apply for charity or community amateur sports club relief

Download the charity and community amateur sports relief policy

Part-occupied relief (section 44A)

If part of your property is likely to be empty for a short time, for example due to the relocation of your business, you can apply for a reduction on the unoccupied part of your property. 

You will need to provide a plan showing the occupied and unoccupied parts and details of how long it is likely to remain empty. We will also need to inspect the property.

Hardship relief

If you are having difficulty paying your business rates you can apply for hardship relief. Each application will be considered individually and we will only give relief if it is in the interests of Medway’s Council Tax payers. 

Rural rate relief

You may receive 100% relief if your property has a rateable value below £8,500 and is the only one of the following in the community:

  • general store
  • post office
  • food shop.

You may also be able to receive 100% relief if your property has a rateable value below £12,500 and is a public house or petrol station.

Improvement relief

If you make certain improvements to your property that are completed on or after 1 April 2024, you may receive relief from the increase in your business rates bill. This will be for a period of 12 months and start from when the improvement works were completed.

You do not need to apply for improvement relief or do anything differently. If you meet the necessary requirements, we'll apply the relief to your bills automatically.

To be eligible for improvement relief you must:

  • have carried out qualifying improvement works
  • meet the occupation condition.

This scheme will end on 31 March 2029.

Qualifying improvement works

If you have carried out qualifying works, you'll receive a certificate from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). This information will also be passed to us.

If you have questions about a certificate of qualifying works, please contact the VOA at the email address on your certificate. Please note that the VOA cannot answer queries about the occupation condition or your business rates bill.

Find out more about which improvements qualify on GOV.UK.

The occupation condition

The same ratepayer must have been in occupation since the qualifying works started.

If the property becomes vacant or the ratepayer changes then the relief will end.

Apply for a business rate reduction

If you have not been awarded any of the above reliefs and think you may qualify, please contact us by emailing