Small Business Bonus Scheme relief statistics
The Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) was introduced in 2008, and provides non-domestic rates relief for small premises in Scotland. It offers a relief of up to 100% on non-domestic rates bills for eligible properties. Whether a property is eligible for SBBS relief and what level of relief it is eligible for depends on the cumulative rateable value of all the properties in Scotland of which a person is in rateable occupation. Currently, a ratepayer whose properties have a cumulative rateable value not exceeding £35,000 may be eligible for SBBS relief for each individual property with a rateable value not exceeding £18,000. The current and historic eligibility criteria are presented in Table 14.
SBBS relief was the most commonly awarded relief, and accounted for 72% of all reliefs awarded, and 38% of the total value of reliefs, as at 1 July 2022. Just under half of all properties on the Valuation Roll (48%) were in receipt of SBBS relief (see Table 3).
Figure 2 shows the number of properties in receipt of SBBS relief and the value of relief awarded over time. The number of SBBS recipients increased from 119,490 in 2021 to 123,010 in 2022. The value of relief awarded as at 1 July 2022 increased to £275m, compared to £261m in 2021. The figures for 2021 were unusually low due to several local authorities conducting reviews of SBBS awards (in 2020 there were 125,980 properties receiving a total of £279m of SBBS relief), as well as due to changes in SBBS eligibility rules which mean that only properties in active occupation can claim SBBS from 1 April 2020.
At the 2020 billing snapshot, the RHLA relief had partly displaced SBBS (as well as other reliefs), as the RHLA relief was awarded automatically to all identified eligible properties, some of which may have otherwise been awarded SBBS relief. The RHLA relief was introduced in 2020-21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued in 2021-22. In 2021-22, the RHLA relief required an application, meaning it was less likely to displace other reliefs (though it may have, for eligible properties, supplemented other reliefs, including SBBS, to a total of 100%).
In publications of SBBS statistics prior to 2019 the information was derived from annual summary returns. This data collection was discontinued after 2018, and the SBBS relief information in this publication is, like all other relief information, derived from the Billing System Snapshot – detailed property-level information on reliefs in place as at the snapshot date, provided to the Scottish Government by local authorities. Switching to a different source for the published SBBS statistics, while providing more detailed information, did result in a discontinuity in the time series, and care should be taken when comparing figures from 2019 or later with pre-2019 figures.
Figure 2 shows the 2018 statistics derived from both sources – 2018 being the last year that the local authority summary SBBS returns were collected – allowing for comparison between 2018 and 2019. Due to the different timing of the two returns (the SBBS returns typically in mid-September, while the Billing System Snapshot is collected in early June), the SBBS returns were able to take into account applications received later in the year, and so reported a higher number of SBBS recipients.
SBBS at the 2022 Snapshot
As at 1 July 2022, 114,880 (93%) of the 123,010 properties receiving SBBS relief received 100% SBBS relief. A further 1,140 properties combined SBBS relief with another relief to add up to 100%.
Table 8 shows the number of SBBS recipients by level of relief, within each local authority. Overall, 48% of properties on the Valuation Roll were in receipt of SBBS relief at the beginning of July 2022. This percentage varied significantly between local authorities, with the Scottish Borders having the highest proportion of SBBS recipients (66%) and Aberdeen City the lowest (22%). Comparable figures for years from 2018 onwards can be found in tables 8a – 8e in the publication tables workbook.
|Local authority||Number of properties receiving SBBS relief||Number of properties receiving 100% SBBS relief||Number of properties receiving less than 100% SBBS relief [note 10]||Proportion of properties in each local authority receiving SBBS relief||Total value of SBBS reliefs awarded (£ millions) [note 6]|
|Argyll & Bute||5,510||5,250||260||58%||8.5|
|City of Edinburgh||7,970||7,240||740||34%||24.5|
|Dumfries & Galloway||5,950||5,710||240||59%||9.7|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||1,630||1,520||120||57%||2.4|
|Perth & Kinross||5,890||5,500||390||60%||11.3|
For numbered notes, see the notes to tables section of this publication.
Table 9 shows the number of SBBS recipients by property class. As at 1 July 2022, a quarter (25%) of SBBS awards were awarded to shops, and just under a quarter (24%) were awarded to industrial subjects. Leisure and entertainment properties, caravans, and holidays sites accounted for a further 17% of all recipients and offices for another 14%. Taken together, these four property classes accounted for 81% of all the SBBS relief awarded, and for 84% of the total value of SBBS. Over three quarters (77%) of leisure and entertainment properties, caravans, and holiday sites, were in receipt of SBBS relief – the highest proportion of any property class. 68% of sporting subjects were receiving SBBS relief, as were 60% of garages and petrol stations, 58% of hotels, and 57% of shops.
|Property class||Number of properties receiving SBBS relief||Number of properties receiving 100% SBBS relief||Proportion of properties within each property class receiving SBBS relief||Proportion of SBBS recipients within property class||Total value of SBBS reliefs awarded (£ millions) [note 6]|
|Education and Training||150||130||4%||0%||0.5|
|Garages and Petrol Stations||2,460||2,290||60%||2%||5.8|
|Health and Medical||1,280||1,040||40%||1%||4.1|
|Leisure, Entertainment, Caravans, etc.||20,860||19,960||77%||17%||29.8|
|Public Service Subjects||1,730||1,280||18%||1%||3.8|
|Quarries, Mines, etc.||80||70||20%||0%||0.1|
For numbered notes, see the notes to tables section of this publication. In addition, please note that property class is a classification used by the Scottish Assessors to describe the type of a property, and may not accurately reflect its use. For example, a property classified as a 'shop' may in fact be used to offer financial services.
SBBS in combination with other reliefs
Of the 123,010 SBBS relief recipients as at 1 July 2022, 8,130 received less than 100% SBBS relief. SBBS relief was combined with another relief for 1,140 of these, most commonly with charity relief. Table 10 provides a breakdown of reliefs awarded in combination with SBBS relief.
Previously, SBBS had most commonly been combined with relief for empty properties, and with Retail, Hospitality, Leisure and Aviation (RHLA) relief. Since 1 April 2020 a property must be in active occupation to receive SBBS relief, so SBBS can no longer be combined with relief for empty properties. The Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure (RHL) (previously RHLA) relief was discontinued on 30 June 2022.
|Relief Type||2021 (as at 1 June)||2022 (as at 1 July)|
|RHLA relief [note 5]||1,970||[d]|
|Empty Property relief||0||0|
|Mandatory Charity relief||1,060||1,000|
|Mandatory Sports Club relief||50||50|
|Discretionary Sports Club relief||50||60|
|Discretionary Rural relief||20||20|
|Discretionary Charity relief||10||10|
|Day Nursery relief||10||10|
|Business Growth Accelerator relief||[low]||10|
|Renewable Energy relief||[low]||10|
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