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Discretionary rate relief notes


Discretionary rate relief under sections 47 (2)(a), 47 (2)(b) and 47 (3) of  the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Policy framework

The following tables describe the guidelines that will be applied by the Council in deciding whether or not to grant discretionary relief and for determining the amount of relief to be granted.

General principles for the award of relief

Each application for discretionary rate relief will be considered on its own merits having regard to the Council's Community Strategy and Financial Plans. The % relief indicated in these guidelines may not therefore be granted in full or at all. There may be circumstances where it is appropriate to award less, or even no relief to an organisation and it is recommended that the following additional factors be taken into account in determining whether the maximum available relief will be awarded:

  • Is the organisation operating at a financial surplus (as a guide an amount in excess of 12 months spending in reserves would generally not be considered for discretionary relief unless a Business Plan exists detailing how these reserves are to be used to the benefit of the local community).
  • Whether the organisation employs staff or relies heavily on unpaid volunteers.
  • Does the organisation provide a service that duplicates or saturates previous service provision? Generally relief should only be granted to an organisation that compliments other services supported or provided by the Council or relieves the need for the Council to provide such services.
  • The organisation should not seek to promote or support political parties.
  • Consideration will be made of the financial impact on the council and its taxpayers in making awards. Relief may be refused or capped if it is considered that the cost to the Council outweighs the benefit that will be gained from the award of the relief.
  • If the organisation is a national charitable organisation, generally relief will not be awarded.
  • As a general rule Trading Arms of charities will not be granted relief.