Bristol City Council – Council Tax Discretionary Relief Update

Date: 10th Apr 2024 Author: Cathy Harding

You will no doubt be aware that Groups with their own buildings will have received their council tax bill in the last few weeks which shows that they will have to pay 20% the discretionary grant previously awarded by Bristol City Council having been lost. This has been complicated by the fact that in many cases the communication from the Council was two fold:

Bills issued on 11th March were sent out 2nd class [these had the 80% and 20% discounts applied]
Further  bills were issued on 13th March sent 1st class [with only 80% discount]

Due to the postage used the 13th March  bills overtook the 11th March bills, Leaving some groups thinking they were only going to get -80% now think they have -100%

It is further complicated by the fact that some groups but not all have been issued with a retail, hospitality and leisure discount. This was picked up with one of the local councillors who having looked into the matter has come back with the note below.

“Hi Neil, I’ve just come off a call with a very helpful manager in the rates team and I think I can shed some light on this.  It seems that the discretionary 20% rate reduction was ended in last year’s Council budget, and all ratepayers were written to last March giving 12 months’ notice of that.  I must confess I wasn’t aware of that change buried somewhere within the budget.

The bills sent on the 11th March showing a 100% relief were actually for 23/24 – these were sent automatically by the system as the relief was changed.

The bills sent on 13th March were the 24/25 ones, showing the 80% mandatory relief.  They were sent 1st class because of delays with the printers and therefore overtook the earlier ones in some cases.

The good news is that all scout groups should be eligible for the 15% “retail, hospitality and leisure” discount but they need to apply individually for it.  The form is here and it’s pretty straightforward.    You just need to tick the “public assembly” box on the list of options and ignore the fact that it refers to you as a “business”.  It asks about whether you’ve received other discounts or subsidies, which will pretty much always be a “no” for scout groups.  If people have any queries they can contact the rates team onbusiness.rates@bristol.gov.uk

Just to note, the form talks about a 75% relief, but that is 75% of the 20% that’s left after the mandatory charitable relief, i.e. 15% of the original amount.  That makes the total relief 95%, leaving 5% for groups to pay.”

As a result all groups should be able to claim the retail hospitality and leisure grant reducing the council tax bill to 5% of the total.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls