We can reduce all or part of a business rates bill in exceptional circumstances of financial hardship.

Hardship criteria

The criteria that must be met includes:

  • the ratepayer will suffer hardship if relief is not granted
  • the relief will directly benefit the ratepayer or the community and will cause no negative impact on other ratepayers or the community

We are only able to support applications for hardship relief if exceptional hardship is demonstrated by the following:

  • the business is responsible for providing a local amenity or employment to South Gloucestershire residents
  • the business has a credible future
  • a short-term award of hardship relief will confirm the future of the business, continued provision of the amenity and employment opportunities
  • there is a sufficient budgetary provision available to meet our commitment to fund the relief

There is no minimum award period. The maximum award period is 12 months but this is rare.

Factors which affect your application

There are many factors which affect a hardship relief application.


These include:

  • income and outgoings
  • if the hardship could be covered by the organisation or individuals’ reserves
  • if there other areas of the business that could help
  • if the organisation or individual are renting excessively large premises

History and future planning

These include:

  • if there is a recognisable, one-off reason for the hardship
  • if there is an improvement plan and what are the chances of success
  • if the relief will be effective or if it will only delay the inevitable
  • loss of amenity

The effect on the local community

These include:

  • if there other similar businesses or would there be a loss of this amenity
  • if large sectors of the South Gloucestershire community benefit
  • if an empty property would be detrimental to the local public

Employment implications

These include:

  • how many would be in danger of losing their jobs
  • if employees are residents of South Gloucestershire
  • if the employees are family or are vacancies open to the public
  • if jobs are more difficult to get in that area

External factors

We also consider regional, national or global factor that affect hardship that are beyond our control. This is particularly when central government provides extra funding and includes consideration of state aid rules.

How to apply

You can apply for hardship relief by:

  • email: businessrates@southglos.gov.uk   
  • post: South Gloucestershire Council, Department for Resources and Business Change, Revenues Services, PO Box 1953, Bristol, BS37 0DE

Make sure you include details of the circumstances of your hardship and a detailed description of your business, the customers, local community and your supporting documents.

Supporting documents

You need to include a copy of the last 2 years of accounts (audited where available).

You can also include:

  • bank statements
  • cash flow statement
  • order book
  • business plan

This list is not exhaustive so if there is any other evidence which you believe will support your application you can include it.

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