Rating your business rates

The issue of rising costs is of real concern to the voluntary sector. In a climate of reduced funding, every penny is harder to earn and therefore more important to retain.

We’ve heard from some charities that they are facing bigger bills for Business Rates – charges that are paid to local authorities for the use of buildings.

For years, registered charities have been entitled to a mandatory 80% exemption on any Business Rates that are payable on their properties. Local authorities are also able to offer an additional exemption on the remaining 20% – known as charitable discretionary relief. Last year, the charity coffers saved £45.6million from this discretionary relief.

With local authorities facing further cuts to their own budgets, we have heard that some are changing their policies on discretionary relief for charities.

We think this is a good time to start fact-finding on the value and importance of business rates to the charity sector. Central government data only tells us the national story. We want to know what’s happening on the ground and across local authorities to get a full picture of whether charities are currently able to claim this 20% discretionary relief, and if not, whether this is a recent change and what’s driving it.

Please answer our survey

By spending 5 minutes answering our survey, you will help us understand how Business Rates are affecting charities across the country:

Answer the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/brates

Neena Bhati, Neena works across NCVO’s Policy and Public Services teams. She will be blogging on issues around Localism and public services.

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Charlotte Ravenscroft was NCVO’s head of policy and public services. Charlotte’s wrote about funding, public service delivery, and strengthening the evidence base for voluntary action. She has also worked at the Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Education.

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