Rural Rate Relief

Mandatory Relief for general stores, post offices (from 1 April 2000) & rural food shops (from 15 August 2001)

Legislative requirements (Sections 43(6B) & 47(3B) Local Government Finance Act 1988). To qualify the property must:

  • be within the boundaries of a 'qualifying settlement'
  • have a rateable value of not more than £8,500 (with effect from 1 April 2010)
  • be used, in whole or part, as a general store or a post office, or both, or a food shop and,
  • where a general store or post office, be either the only general store or the only post office in the settlement


The legislation was amended from 5th April 2001 to include properties that are used, in whole or part, as a public house or a petrol filling station, and:

  • are within the boundaries of a qualifying settlement
  • have a rateable value of not more than £12,500 (from 1 April 2010), and
  • are either the only public house or the only petrol filling station in the settlement.


A 'qualifying' settlement is:

  • wholly or partly within the Authority's area
  • appear to the billing authority to have had a population of 3,000 or less on the preceding 31st December, and
  • are wholly or partly within a designated rural area.


A settlement list is compiled and approved by the Council three months prior to each financial year. Each list refers to Proposal Maps from within the Local Plan.

A 'qualifying general store' is a business consisting wholly or mainly of the sale of both food for human consumption (excluding confectionery) and general household goods.

A 'qualifying food shop' is defined as one that is wholly or mainly selling food on a retail basis for human consumption. The supply of confectionery and of food in the course of catering is excluded. Catering is defined as the supply of food for consumption on the premises or of hot food that is eaten off the premises. This excludes such establishments as restaurants, cafes, tea-rooms and fast food shops but not food shops that only sell small amounts of such items.

How much reduction will I receive?

Provided you qualify, you will be entitled to a 50% reduction off your rates bill.

How do I apply?

Contact the Local Taxes Section for an application form

Discretionary Relief For Rural Properties

Discretionary relief for rural properties may be granted to a business that is entitled to receive Mandatory relief. It may also be granted to a business provided that

i) it is within the boundaries of a qualifying settlement

ii) it has a rateable value of not more than £16,500 (from 1 April 2010)

iii) it is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community, and

iv) it is reasonable for the Authority to make such a decision having regard to the interests of persons liable to pay council tax set by it.

You must also meet the conditions specified in the Council's Policy Guidelines for Discretionary Rural Rate Relief

a) to qualify, a business should generally be that of a general store, a post office or a food shop

b) the business should generally be the only business of that nature within the settlement area

c) the business should be open to all sections of the community

d) the business should be able to demonstrate that the way it operates does not discriminate against any section of the community

e) the views of the local elected Council Member should be received

f) the business should not have more than 12 months spending available as free reserves

g) relief will be awarded for a two year period and then reviewed

h) that the interests of the individual ratepayer or an individual community must be balanced against the wider interests of the taxpayers

i) evidence should be provided to support the application

j) a copy of the previous two years audited accounts for the business should be provided.

Normally public houses and petrol filling stations would not come within this policy but each case will be treated on its merits.