Business Rates Improvement Relief: Draft regulations consultation

The Local Government Association (LGA) is here to support, promote and improve local government.

1. The Local Government Association (LGA) is here to support, promote and improve local government. We will fight local government's corner and support councils through challenging times by making the case for greater devolution, helping councils tackle their challenges and assisting them to deliver better value for money services.

2. This response has been agreed by Lead Members of the LGA Resources Board.

Do you consider the draft regulations deliver the policy objectives of the Improvement Relief scheme as set out in the technical consultation and government response? If not why not?

3. The policy objective of the consultation is for the hereditaments to which the reliefs apply, and those to which they don’t apply, to be set out clearly.  This is done in section three of the guidance. 

4. The description in the consultation makes it clear that to qualify for relief the ratepayer will have to meet two conditions, one relating to the qualifying works and one relating to continuing occupation. The first will be the responsibility of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and the second will be for the billing authority to undertake.

5. The guidance makes clear which are the duties for valuation offices.  Billing authorities will be expected to receive certificates stating eligibility for the relief from the VOA, to check for continuing occupation, and to award the relief.

6. Applying the new relief will be a new burden for billing authorities including liaising with the VOA on the qualifying works certificate and carrying out the occupation check. The new burdens procedure should apply to this to ensure councils are fully compensated both for the costs of the relief and for any administrative costs incurred.

7. We note that the Government said in the 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review that local authorities would be fully compensated for the business rates measures including the new improvement relief. We look forward to further detailed conversations with the Government on how this will be implemented, including any implications for Business Rates Retention. We would expect this relief to be dealt with in the same way as other reliefs granted since 2013/14 are dealt with.  For this it will be important for a record to be kept of the amount of relief granted through this procedure.  This can be provided through the normal national non-domestic rate returns to Government.


Mike Heiser
Senior Policy Adviser
Phone: 020 7664 3265
Mobile: 07876 578189

Email: [email protected]