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Discretionary Rate Relief (S12)


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Discretionary Rate relief (DRR) can be given subject to organisations that are in receipt of mandatory rate relief although it should be noted that each organisation can only receive a maximum of £2000 discretionary rate relief. This change was introduced to ensure that the funding available can be used to help the maximum number of organisations. 
Sports clubs generally do not have charitable status for non-domestic rates purposes, but they can apply for this status through the Inland Revenue. If they meet certain criteria they will then receive mandatory rate relief. We do not give top up DRR where sports clubs have this status. Sports clubs without charitable status can apply for DRR and the % relief varies 10% to 50% depending on whether the club runs a licensed bar.

Organisations must apply every year. 

Organisations are asked to provide governance and financial information as part of the process. On receipt of the application a stop is put on the collection pending a decision to award. The decision is made by the Health and Partnerships Cabinet lead following advice from an advisory panel including DBC officers and County Durham Community Foundation. Minutes of the panel meeting are then circulated to all Members who can call-in any decision. Following the end of the call-in period applicants and Revenues and Benefits are notified of the outcome.

The budget is £34,000 and the spend last year was less than this at £18,195. Last year 40 organisations applied for this support and the amounts granted ranged from £55 to £2000. The impact of stopping this support will therefore be minimal for most organisations but the cumulative effect will need to be assessed as it will hit CAB, DAD, Age UK, FirstStop and others who will be affected by other proposals. Where the group is a small group it should be possible to fund raise for the amount required especially as we need to provide a lead in of 12 months as we have to give 12 months’ notice of any changes. 


S12 Discretionary Rate Relief



Keywords: voluntary sector VCS DRR

Related FAQs

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

We fully support the work of our voluntary sector partners and hope to continue to work with them in the future. However, the financial situation is such that the Council is not able to continue funding these organisations at current levels. The likely impact of the budget proposals on these organisations is currently being identified, following discussions with the organisations most affected. We hope that they are able to continue their work by looking at where they can make further cost and efficiency savings, but we appreciate that in some cases this may not be possible and it will therefore mean a reduction in the support they can offer to the residents of Darlington.  It could lead to the closure of organisations if they are unable to make the necessary changes for them to be sustainable, which will be very regrettable. We want to avoid this happening and we will support organisations making grant applications where we can. We will also be undertaking work to understand the impact of any reductions in service on individuals accessing them. 

Your Say

2 comment(s)

This table lists comments from the public about this proposal


Cut S12 (Discretionary Rate Relief)

Dear Sir or Madam, first of all we would like to thank the council for allowing us Discretionary rates relief for the past few years, it really has been a life saver in all aspects of the term. Darlington and District Samaritans are wholly dependent on donations, grants and fundraising for it's funding. To keep the centre open costs between £20,000 and £25,000 per year (approx £68 per day) and we are wholly staffed by volunteers only, no paid staff, who donate not only their time and skills but also often offer financial assistance as we all believe what we do does save lives and makes a difference to the community. Our branch is not open 24/7 but we work with other branches in the region to always have adequate cover within the region so even when Darlington branch is closed callers will get through to someone by being diverted to another branch that is open. Last year alone we had 43,306 contacts, by telephone, face to face callers, email and SMS texting while a portion of these would be what we call snap calls, that is callers hanging up straight away as soon as we answer, even some of those snap calls would be genuine callers trying to summon up courage to speak and therefore we answer all calls with respect that it is someone desperate to talk. Our callers are all ages, all religions, all nationalities, we are open literally to anyone who needs our services but all have one thing in common, the need to talk. We aim to help people find ways of coping with their distress or dispair without choosing to die by suicide. We also seek to support those whose distress is less acute, in the hope that they will not reach the point of feeling that they wish to end their lives. We have a dedicated outreach team who give talks and presentations to schools, colleges and any other organisation who requests a presentation. We also work with Deerbolt young offenders prison at Barnard Castle, as we are the nearest branch, training inmates as prison listeners and offering support. We have recently rolled out our freephone number whereby people can call us without the constraints of worrying over the cost of the call. Whilst we are currently funded for the cost of the calls the funding will diminish over the next 3 years after which we will have to find the cost of the calls ourselves. Costs are constantly rising and the building need maintenance, the roof is in very bad condition and we are looking to get it replaced over the next 12 months. We have been running at a deficit for the past 8 years and if it was not for a legacy left by Hartlepool branch closing 8 years ago we may well have had to close ourselves several years back. Our reserves are almost depleted and will be gone altogether after the roof repairs. We are currently joining the central charity rather than existing as a separate charity but as a branch we will still be self funding and will have to find the day to day running costs ourselves. The £900 Discretionary Rates relief we have been allowed in the past has helped a lot towards keeping us going and we beg you to reconsider the withdrawal of this grant. Thank you. Treasurer. Darlington Samaritans.

Cut S12 (Discretionary Rate Relief)

Discretionary Rate Relief for Bowen Road Hall Further to our telephone conversation this morning it was good to receive a 0.00 rates bill this year without the need to complete an application for Discretionary Relief. The subsequent letter informing me of the proposal to cease this relief with effect from 1st April 2018 is not so welcome. If this proposal was to go ahead it would most certainly mean we would have to increase our Hall Hire charges. This would impact mostly on children as we have regular weekly Toddler classes for three different groups. There is then a seven hour Ballet and tap dance lessons all day on a Saturday covering different age groups from 3 to 4 year olds up to late teens. These hours at certain times of the year are extended when the ballet and tap section need extra practice for shows. The percentage of usage adults against children is approximately 35/65 There is also two 1 hour sessions in the early evening for general dance instruction aimed at the early teens. Finally the Hall is a popular venue for birthday it can accommodate all but the largest bouncy castle. We receive little in the way of help from Council Services. Our hiring terms require all users to take away all their rubbish so we have no need for a wheely bin. Even if we did have one it would mean someone having to get it to the road which is a hundred yards from the hall. It also prevents vandalism. Whilst appreciating the cuts the council have to make we would respectfully request that they consider the above comments. The 40 organisations mentioned in your explanitory letter that receive this Relief may include many in the same situation. Treasurer Cockerton Residents Community Association