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Retail Discount

The Government has introduced a new rate relief discount to provide support to retailers. The scheme will come into effect from 1st April 2019 and will run for two years ending 31st March 2021. The value of the relief will be one third of the rates bill.


Qualifying Criteria

The qualifying criteria to award a retail discount is:-

a) The rateable value of the property is less than £51,000 and

b) The property is occupied, and

c) The property is wholly or mainly being used for a qualifying retail purpose (please refer to the guidance below), and

d) Awarding a discount will comply with the European Union Regulations concerning State Aid (please refer to the guidance below).


To apply for a retail discount

To apply for a retail discount, please complete the online application form.

If you are unable to do this, please download an application form adobe icon Retail Discount Application Form [169kb] and return the completed application by e-mail to  or by post to-

Business Rates Team, New Forest District Council, Appletree Court, Beaulieu Road, LYNDHURST, SO43 7PA


Guidance as to what is a Qualifying Retail Purpose

The properties included in the three groups are not intended to be exhaustive as there are many and varied retail uses that exist.


GROUP 1               

Properties that are occupied and are wholly or mainly being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public; including-


  Shops (such as: florist, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licence, chemists, newsagents,   hardware stores, supermarkets, etc)


  Charity shops




  Post Offices


  Furnishing shops / display rooms (such as: carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)


  Car / caravan show rooms




  Petrol stations


  Garden centres


  Art galleries (where art is for sale / hire)


GROUP 2               

Properties that are occupied and are wholly or mainly being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public; including-


  Hair and beauty services (such as: hair dressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc)


  Shoe repairs / key cutting


  Travel agents


  Ticket Offices


  Dry cleaners




  PC / TV / domestic appliance repair


  Funeral directors


  Photo processing


  DVD rentals


  Tool hire


  Car hire


  Car repairs/servicing


GROUP 3               

Properties that are occupied and are wholly or mainly being used for the sale of food and / or drink to visiting members of the public; including-






  Sandwich shops


  Coffee shops






In addition, the Government has set out the types of uses it does not consider to be a qualifying retail premises for the purpose of this discount-


  Properties that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public

  Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)

  Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)

  Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisers, tutors)

  Other services (e.g. estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)


Properties that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public

Generally speaking, the government does not consider other assembly or leisure uses beyond those listed to be retail uses for the purpose of the discount. For example, cinemas, theatres and museums are outside the scope of the scheme, as are nightclubs and music venues. Properties used for sport or physical recreation (e.g. gyms) are also outside the scope of the discount.


Guidance concerning State Aid

Included as part of the retail discount application is a question regarding State Aid.

State Aid law is the means by which the European Union regulates state funded support to businesses. Providing a business rate discount will amount to State Aid. However, retail discount will be State Aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations (1407/2013).

The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 of De Minimis State Aid in a 3 year period (consisting of the current financial year and the 2 previous financial years).  If you have received De Minimis Staid Aid in the last 3 financial years, we will ask you for details of-

i. the amount of State Aid provided,

ii. its nature,

iii. the provider, and

iv. the date the State Aid was received.


Further information on State Aid law can be found at


Updated: 7 Mar 2019
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