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Rate relief

We are facing significant financial challenges for 2024/25 and beyond and are considering a range of options to contribute towards addressing the shortfall in funding.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has applied 100% rate relief to the majority of charities and not for profit organisations for many years but due to the financial pressures we are facing we are considering changes to our Discretionary Rate Relief Policy.

We are now looking to remove or reduce the 20% discretionary relief from schools, national charity shops and not-for-profit leisure organisations with effect from April 2024.

We are keen to ensure that affected organisations are engaged and communicated with before the proposed new discretionary relief policy comes in to effect in April and will actively seek comments on our proposed approach.

Summary of changes


Area Summary of proposed changes to discretionary rate relief policy 2024-25
Large Charities

The percentage of top up discretionary rate relief will be removed where it is deemed charities have sufficient financial resources to meet some or all of their annual business rates liability. If a charities financial accounts show a level of unrestricted reserves which would allow them to continue to operate for more than 12 months, they must demonstrate or provide a business plan detailing how these additional reserves are to be used to benefit the local community.

The percentage top up relief will be removed where there is a significant membership or an entry fee, we will consider whether the subscription or fee justifies a discretionary top up funded by council tax payers.

National Charity shops

The percentage top relief will be removed for National Charity Shops & Cafes where they cannot demonstrate that funds collected locally are reinvested locally.


In the case of Schools, including academies, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled, church or granted aided, we will not grant discretionary top-up to the mandatory relief, due to the significant funding streams available to schools

Not for profit organisations

Area Summary of proposed changes to discretionary rate relief policy 2024-25
Community interest companies

Community Interest companies providing leisure facilities across the borough, for which members and visitors are charged a fee will have their current level of discretionary relief of 100% reduced to 90%.

Organisations operating a restrictive membership policy for which a fee is payable will not be eligible for relief.

Other considerations or changes

Organisations where members have regular access to a licensed bar facility may see the level of discretionary rate relief reduced.


Organisations with significant financial resources need to demonstrate plans to spend reserves before any relief is granted.

If you have any questions on how these changes may impact your organisation, please contact the business rates team

Types of rate relief

If you pay business rates, you may be eligible for rate relief. There are several rate relief schemes available. 

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