News: Business Rates & Retail Discount Guidance

Posted on 19th March 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has issued guidance to Local Authorities (in our case Mid Sussex District Council) explaining the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21 for Business Rates in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

MSDC are looking to update their software ASAP in order to get the additional help out to businesses that qualify.  Bear in mind that MSDC have deferred any April 2020 payment from any businesses likely to qualify for the additional help.

There is no need for businesses that qualify for retail rate discount (including the expanded retail discount) to contact the Council as they will automatically amend bills and send the new ones for 2020-21.

HM Treasury have also given additional information about the business grants today.  The full criteria is still being established but more information is available about them at

In summary the Government are providing £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most-affected firms manage their cashflow through this period by:

  • giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months
  • increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000
  • providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000

This communication has come from MSDC’s Kevin Stewart, Business Unit Leader for Revenues and Benefits. Kevin says that the full criteria to qualify for the grants has not been finalised, but the Treasury are keen for the Local Authorities – who will administer these grants – to get the payments out to qualifying businesses in early April 2020. As such Kevin has promised to continue to keep us updated as he learns more about the above reliefs and grants.

He added “if any business within Mid Sussex has issues due to the current coronavirus situation that is not covered in the information already provided please contact his team by email at

Please note in the announcement made on Wednesday about school closures there was reference to a business rates payment holiday in 2020-21 for nurseries. See link:

I have explained to Kevin that BHBPA is undertaking a Members’ Survey on the Coronavirus and how it’s impacting our businesses and that I will share the aggregated findings with him.

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"The BHBPA is the most effective and dynamic business organisation I have ever worked with in over 30 years in Local Government. It has a very active and large membership whose points of view are taken seriously by all government structures. Peter Liddell does an excellent job in providing unique and enjoyable networking opportunities where members interact and discuss points of mutual interest. It provides a forum for businesses to discuss common issues, to share experiences and to play a powerful and meaningful role in the Burgess Hill community. The BHBPA provides important and credible support for all its members and ensures that their best interests are represented where necessary. "

Steve Cridland, CEO
(Burgess Hill Town Council)

"“Sutton Winson have been members of the BHBPA for around 7 years. We have found it a great way to keep in touch with Burgess Hill businesses and to meet with likeminded people. It’s not just another “networking” group, as it tackles the real issues and gets things done”"

Bruce Millington, Manager
(Sutton Winson Ltd)

"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."

Steve Mooney
(Steven Mooney Machinery)

"As the local hospice for the area, it’s great that we receive so much support from the BHBPA. Last year the members raised an amazing £2150 through activities such as Bake Off and the BHBiz Awards. Each well planned members meeting enables good networking opportunities and speakers that are relevant to the present climate and local issues. We are proud to be members of BHBPA."

Wendy Agate, Community Fund Raising Manager
(St Peter & St James Hospice)