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Uttlesford Business Development Rate Relief Scheme FAQs

Which areas of Uttlesford are included in the policy?

All of the local authority district of Uttlesford is included in the policy.

When should we apply?

As a first stage please ensure that you are eligible for this scheme and if ensure then please contact us. If you are eligible then complete the application form and submit it to the address or email provided. We welcome receipt of applications at any stage in your relocation, expansion, etc.

We do recommend, however, that your application is not submitted before any planning permission if required has been obtained. We are able to give an indication of the likelihood of your project being successful before it is formal submission of your application form. 

Following assessment of your application, we are able where appropriate to approve relief in principal subject to the project being completed within a 12 month period of the date of approval.     

Can any type of business apply for rate relief from this policy?

Most businesses can apply for rate relief with the following exceptions who can apply for rate relief under different policies:

  • Registered Charities and Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs - Charitable Rate Relief
  • Qualifying businesses within small rural settlements (population of below 3,000)  - Rural Rate Relief
  • Retail premises with a rateable value of £50,000 or less or businesses moving into a retail property that has been empty for a year or more - Retail Relief Scheme

Any status of business can apply including sole traders, limited companies, partnerships, co-operatives etc.

How long is the scheme running for?

The Council has estimated the potential take up of the scheme and set aside funding to enable the scheme to operate up to 31st March 2018. However, should the budget available be exhausted before this date then no further applications will be accepted. 

What is the maximum amount of relief I could gain from this scheme?

You are being offered assistance under this Project in accordance with the European Commission's rules on "De Minimis Aid" (Commission De Minimis Aid Exemption Regulation 1998/2006). These rules allow any single business (firm, company, sole trader or entrepreneur) to receive up to €200,000 (approximately £130,000 sterling) of aid and assistance from public bodies over any consecutive three financial years without contravening European state aid rules. (State aid rules are designed to prevent the public sector giving the private sector subsidies, or covering costs that commercial firms would normally be expected to bear themselves, in order to ensure the common market in goods and services within the European Union.)

If your business has received any aid or assistance as "De Minimis Aid" from a public body in the past 3 consecutive financial years (1st April to 31st March) then it must be disclosed in the rate relief application form. This includes aid and assistance provided by any public body or source. The Council will use this information to decide whether you are eligible to receive assistance under the scheme.

Any type of assistance, grant or other benefit funded by or from a public body might be caught be these rules if it covers (completely or in part) a cost, risk or liability your business would normally be expected to bear itself if run on normal commercial lines. Potentially any assistance from a public body or source might be caught. Depending on the circumstances aid may have been provided as "De Minimis Aid" or under another State Aid regulation. Should you have any doubts on this matter, please contact the body who provided the assistance to clarify the terms on which was given and ask if it was classed as "De Minimis aid".

The following is a list of the more common forms of aid that might come within these rules; however it is not exhaustive.

  • Consultancy advice provided either free or at a reduced rate
  • Training provided either free or at a reduced rate
  • Grants from public bodies (capital or revenue)
  • Loans from public bodies at favourable rates
  • Loan guarantees from public bodies
  • Aid for investment in environmental projects at a free or reduced rate. Provision of a free or reduced rate feasibility study for research and development or other assistance with research and development
  • Grants from an investment trust (including charities) which may themselves have received the funds from a public body
  • Grants from a part publicly funded venture capital fund
  • Publicly administered funds, even if the funds were originally not public such as the national lottery
  • Waiver or deferral of fees or interest normally due to a public body such as the waiver or deferral of rent or waiver of interest normally due on late payment of taxation, rent or other costs to a public body.

When will I receive any rate relief?

If your application is successful the rate relief will commence in the month after your relocation or expansion, etc has occurred. Relief will not be back dated.

 How will the council check that my business is eligible for rate relief from this policy?

As part of your application you will be required to provide evidence where applicable of the rateable value of your premises, lease obligations, financial accounts, employee numbers and employee roles.  Failure to adhere to specific eligibility criteria or the provision of false information may result in expulsion from the scheme and possible retrieval of any relief received. If you are unsure about the eligibility criteria please contact us.

It should be noted that the Council reserves the right to re-assess the eligibility for this scheme at any time.

If my application is not successful can I appeal against the decision?

Please note that if you are unhappy with a decision made an appeals process is available.

What happens if my circumstances change?

The council will pick up certain changes automatically, but it is your responsibility as the ratepayer to notify the council of the following changes:

  • You as the ratepayer taking up occupation of a property that you did not occupy at the time of making your application for relief;
  • An increase or decrease in the rateable value of a property occupied by you the ratepayer, and
  • An increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by you the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.

You must notify the council of these changes within four weeks of the day after the change happened and your eligibility will be reassessed. If you are still eligible, you will be entitled to the relief again with effect from the day that you notify the local authority.

Failure to notify the authority within this time frame will mean that you cease to be entitled to the relief with effect from the day that the change happened. If you take up occupation of an additional property you must make a fresh application for relief. You must notify the council of an increase in rateable value in writing.

What if the rateable value (RV) on a property falls, or fluctuates briefly, below the £12,500 threshold?

For example, an existing business sharing the building with our 'new' business has appealed against their RV resulting in a decrease of the RV.

The subsidy ceases on the day the decision is made to reduce the RV.

I have some questions that aren't addressed here who can I contact?

Please contact the District Councils Economic Development Officer:

Economic Development Officer
Uttlesford District Council, Council Offices
London Road, Saffron Walden
Essex
CB11 4ER

Tel: 01799 510521

Email: sjackson@uttlesford.gov.uk