Coronavirus: Business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector

The Government has published guidance on the application of business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector, as part of its Covid-19 response. Paragraph 15 of the Guidance states that the list provided is not intended to be exhaustive as it would be impossible to list the many and varied uses that exist within the qualifying purposes. As such, authorities should determine for themselves whether particular properties not listed are broadly similar in nature and, if so, to consider them eligible for the relief.

Working with Tourism Alliance, we have identified some tourism businesses that are not explicitly mentioned in the guidance, but in our view do fall into the intended category. This is an illustrative list to help teams unfamiliar with the tourism sector. The only official guidance on the rates relief is that published by MHCLG, with a key consideration being that the premises are open to visiting members of the public and are wholly or mainly being used for the purposes outlined in paragraphs 10 to 14 of the guidance.  Therefore offices are unlikely to be eligible.

We would ask that councils give consideration the premises listed below*, as additional examples for inclusion in their local schemes :

  • Amusement Arcades
  • Vehicle Rental Sites
  • Conference and Exhibition venues
  • Non-local authority Tourism Information Centres
  • Marinas/Boat Hire/Passenger Boat Facilities

*This list was amended on 20 April following discussions with MHCLG.

Business rates letter: Business rates support for ALL leisure businesses

The LGA has written to the Chancellor, along with Tourism Alliance and other sector representatives, seeking an expansion of the eligibility criteria for the business rates relief scheme to include key tourism organisations. These organisations are critical to the supply chain and ecology of the tourism sector, and make a significant local economic and social contribution.

Following the Government’s announcement of the £617 million discretionary fund, councils can give consideration to supporting the additional organisations outlined in the letter above, including language schools and coach/tour operators. This will be a local decision, in line with your local priorities and the economic contribution of these businesses.