Discretionary Rate Relief confirmed for 2019
Voscur has received confirmation from Bristol City Council that Discretionary Rates Relief will continue to be applied this year.
A representative of the council’s Revenues Finance team told Voscur:
“Light touch amendments are being incorporated into the policy to bring it up to date, however the eligibility criteria remains unchanged. Recipients will be invited to reapply and where their financial details and outcomes are broadly the same as their last application, they are likely to receive further relief.
“We aim to send the applications in the next couple of months. Worst case scenario is that the 2019 annual bills will be issued without the relief, the application assessed and an adjusted bill issued after the annual billing. We will of course aim to avoid late assessment.”
The announcement follows uncertainty at the end of last year over whether the relief would be extended. In lieu of clarity we advised that organisations which previously qualified for the relief should be including the additional cost in their financial planning – we are pleased to say that this is no longer the case for the immediate future.
However, the Revenues and Finance team has said that it cannot confirm that the policy will be continued beyond 2021 and that the relief could be re-evaluated as part of further savings should they come up in the future. Eligible organisations should therefore continue to factor this additional expense into their financial planning.
Bristol City Council had proposed to withdraw the relief in March 2018, however this was delayed for a year following pressure from Voscur.
We identified at least 19 VCSE (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise) groups in the city that would have faced an average bill of £8,000 per organisation if the relief had been withdrawn. These organisations had not been given the chance to budget for this additional cost and several would have faced closure if it had gone ahead.