If your business is experiencing hardship, Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 currently allows us the discretion to reduce or waive business rates, by granting hardship relief.

Central Government only gives us back 36% of the relief that we grant under this scheme, the remaining 64% of the cost of this scheme falls directly on our local council tax payers.

Therefore before we grant any grant relief we must be satisfied that doing so will benefit the wider community as well as the ratepayer

Relief available

Any hardship relief will normally be granted as a percentage of the rates payable for a specific period, in the rating year in which your application is made. In some cases, interim decisions may be made subject to review in the light of the actual financial accounts for the period concerned.

 

Criteria

You must be liable to pay business rates to Merton Council.

We must be satisfied that:

  • you would sustain hardship if we failed to grant hardship relief, and
  • it is reasonable to grant hardship relief having regard to the interest of local council tax payers.

The test of "hardship" need not be confined strictly to financial hardship and applicants should disclose all relevant factors affecting the ability of their business to meet its rate liability.

The "interest" of local council tax payers may go wider than direct financial interests; for example, where employment prospects in an area would be worsened by a ratepayer going out of business, or the amenities of an area might be reduced by, for instance, the loss of a neighbourhood shop.

 

Apply

The following information will be required in support of applications for hardship relief:

  • Completed application form
  • Completed and signed State Aid Declaration form
  • Past two years' audited accounts, or, in the case of a new business, an estimate of annual income and expenditure
  • A comprehensive business plan incorporating a brief history of the business
  • Cash flow forecast for a minimum of the next twelve months
  • Any other information that may be required in individual cases

Hardship relief application form

State Aid Declaration form (with guidance notes)

 

How applications are determined

Each application for hardship relief is considered on its merits in accordance with government guidelines and European Union requirements in regard to state aid.

The Director of Corporate Services has delegated authority to consider applications.

 

Re-applying

If you are granted hardship relief, you are entitled to re-apply for hardship relief in subsequent years. In the event of such a re-application we may require you to provide evidence from an accountant or other professional adviser regarding the long-term viability of the business.

 

Contact us

Business Rates Team
Merton Civic Centre
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX

Email: business.rates@merton.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 8545 3919 or 020 8545 3751

We are no longer able to attend to personal visitors at the Civic Centre. You can email us anytime or telephone between 9am and 5pm.