Business Rates subsidy control

Affected reliefs

Some Business Rates’ reliefs are affected by the subsidy control rules outlined in the Subsidy Control Act 2022.  These reliefs are:

  • Non-Domestic Rates (Renewable Energy Generation Relief) (Scotland) Regulations 2010;
  • Non-Domestic Rates (Enterprise Areas) (Scotland) Regulations 2016;
  • Non-Domestic Rates (Telecommunication Installations) (Scotland) Regulations 2016;
  • Non-Domestic Rates (Rural Areas) (Scotland) Regulations 2017;
  • Non-Domestic Rates (District Heating Relief) (Scotland) Regulations 2017;
  • Non-Domestic Rates (Transitional Relief) (Scotland) Regulations 2017;
  • Non-Domestic Rates (Day Nursery Relief) (Scotland) Regulations 2018;
  • Non-Domestic Rates (Coronavirus Reliefs) (Scotland) Regulations 2022;
  • Regulation 15 of the Non-Domestic Rates (Transitional Relief) (Scotland) Regulations 2023

Affected ratepayers

Subsidy control rules only impact certain classes of ratepayer.  These are described by the Subsidy Control Act 2022 as ‘entities’, which are defined as any person, or groups of persons under common control that is engaged in an economic activity.

Minimum Financial Assistance subsidy

Reliefs affected by the Subsidy Control Act 2022 may be offered to ratepayers as a Minimum Financial Assistance (MFA) subsidy under Section 36 (1).

MFA is capped at a maximum of £315,000 over a three-period – the current and previous two financial years.

The MFA financial threshold applies at company group level - a single economic actor could be the controlling interest in multiple separate businesses.

East Lothian Council obligations

To ensure that East Lothian Council complies with the requirements of the subsidy regime, we may be required to cap some grants and reliefs at the MFA maximum limit. A decision to invoke such a cap may depend on:

  • the level of other public sector assistance received by the entity
  • whether or not the entity has an interest in any business with other properties in receipt, or eligible for, one of the affected rate relief schemes

Amount of support received

Entities must consider whether they have already received support from any public sector body in the current financial year (2023/24) and the two financial years immediately preceding (2021/22 and 2022/23).

If you have received public sector assistance over the last three years (i.e. current and previous two accounting years of your business) that exceeds £315,000, or would expect to exceed £315,000 if an affected relief was granted, you must complete a Subsidy Control Declaration Form.

Download a Subsidy Control Declaration Form

Record keeping

Entities are required to keep a written record of the amount and date(s) of any MFA received, for at least three years from the date MFA was awarded. Any award of MFA exceeding £100,000 is subject to transparency requirements and will be published.