The relief will have effect for 2020/21 and eligible businesses will have the relief automatically added to their account shortly from information the Council already holds. 

If after reading the guidance which sets out the criteria central government considers eligible for the Nursery Discount, you feel that your business meets the qualifying criteria for the scheme and do not receive a Business Rates bill showing that the relief has been awarded, please contact us at

Nursery (childcare) discount

As an extraordinary response to the coronavirus, the Government announced a business rates Nursery Discount on 18 March 2020.

This relief will apply to hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which are subject to business rates in the year 2020/21. There will be no rateable value limit on the relief. Ofsted will ensure that all local authorities can access the Ofsted Early Years Register to help authorities identify eligible properties.

How will the relief be provided?

The Government is not changing the legislation relating to the reliefs available to properties. Instead the Government will, in line with the eligibility criteria set out in this guidance, reimburse local authorities that use their discretionary relief powers under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (as amended), to grant relief. It will be for individual local billing authorities to adopt a local scheme and determine in each individual case when, having regard to this guidance, to grant relief under section 47. Central government will fully reimburse local authorities for the local share of the discretionary relief (using a grant under section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003).

Which properties will benefit from relief?

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

To qualify for the relief the hereditament should be wholly or mainly being used for the above qualifying purpose. In a similar way to other reliefs (such as charity relief), this is a test on use rather than occupation. Therefore, hereditaments which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief. For the avoidance of doubt, hereditaments which have closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief.

How much relief will be available?

The total amount of government-funded relief available for each property for 2020/21 under this scheme is 100% of the bill, after mandatory reliefs and other discretionary reliefs funded by section 31 grants have been applied, excluding those where local authorities have used their wider discretionary relief powers introduced by the Localism Act which are not funded by section 31 grants.

Ratepayers that occupy more than one property will be entitled to relief for each of their eligible properties.

State Aid

Whilst the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the Government and the EU provides that during a transition period State aid rules will continue to apply as now and will be subject to control by the EU Commission as at present.

The Government has notified the EU of its intention to bring forward an immediate change to the UK’s tax treatment of non-domestic property, in response to the ongoing Covid-19 emergency, and to seek clearance under Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Subject to this approval, the Nursery Discount scheme will become a notified State aid. Authorities should prepare to award the discount ignoring de minimis limits and MHCLG will inform them of the outcome of the notification as soon as it is known.