Search site

Hardship Relief policy framework

Please read the following before making an application (link to on-line application is at the end).           


Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act (LGFA) 1988 gives billing authorities power to reduce or remit the amount a person is liable to pay in respect of occupied rate (Section 43) or unoccupied rate (Section 45) where it is satisfied that-
(a) the ratepayer would sustain hardship if the authority did not do so; and
(b) it is reasonable for the authority to do so, having regard to the interests of persons subject to its council tax.


The Council stands committed to help the business community.  Should a business or service suffer temporary hardship and the Council finds it would be in the best interests of the wider community to provide assistance; favourable consideration will be given to granting hardship relief.

The power to determine applications for rate relief on the grounds of hardship is delegated to the Revenues Manager (Martin Cole), in consultation with the Finance and Efficiency Portfolio Holder (Councillor Jeremy Heron).

New Forest District Council will apply the following considerations in the exercise of the discretion to grant hardship relief:-

1. There is no blanket policy either to give or not to give relief. Each case will be considered on its merits.
2. Reduction/remission will be the exception rather the rule.
3. All relevant factors affecting the ability of a business to meet its rates liability will be taken into account.
4. The obligation to show hardship lies with the ratepayer and no decision will be taken without the necessary evidence.
5. An application must be made in writing and supported by financial details.
6. Where possible, outgoings not related to business activities will normally be disregarded.
7. Consideration will be given as to whether the business provides a service to the community.
8. Relief would only be considered where the ratepayer can show the hardship relates to a short term period and that by its award, it would greatly assist the ability to continue trading in the longer term.
9. The ratepayer will be expected to show they have taken reasonable steps to alleviate the hardship.
10. New Forest District Council is open and transparent and as such, any hardship award must fulfil the test as to whether our council tax payers would consider the award to be reasonable and in their best interests.
11. Regard will be had to capital employed, latest figures available for net profit/loss, rates as a percentage of total business expenses, rates as a percentage of gross profit and the likely effect of granting any relief.
12. The number or persons employed by the business will be considered.
13. Consideration will also be given to whether the service provided is obtainable elsewhere at reasonable distance.
14. Relief will be a maximum amount of 80% of the rates payable.
15. Relief shall only apply to the year in which an application is made.

Apply for Hardship Relief

Updated: 22 Aug 2017
Powered by GOSS iCM