Hardship relief for businesses struggling to pay rates

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 beyond the control of the business and outside of the normal risks associated with running a business. 

  • That the business is viable and that the granting of relief will help ensure the future of the business. 

  • That the business benefits the local community 

  • The business might fail if hardship relief is not awarded 

 

Prior to the award being made, 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: 

  • getting professional business advice 

  • reducing overheads 

  • reviewing pricing 

  • offering discounts 

  • extending the range of stock and services 

  • negotiating with creditors 

  • have a business plan in place to address the hardship. 

 

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 

Please email taxation@sstaffs.gov.uk with information as noted above and 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 taxpayer'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. 

 

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