Rate reform boost for small businesses and town centres
Published: Fri, 11 May 2007 16:34:50
Local Government Minister Phil Woolas has today (11 May) published new legislation aimed at encouraging empty shops, offices, factory and warehouse buildings back into commercial use as part of a package to create thriving urban centres, renovate empty buildings and promote greater use of brownfield land.
The new measures modernise business rate relief for empty properties and, together with a newly introduced allowance to support the renovation of empty business premises in our most deprived communities and proposals to extend tax reliefs on brownfield sites, will better incentivise the re-use, redevelopment or sale of empty commercial property.
Businesses that rent premises will particularly benefit from the changes, which will increase the availability of premises, thereby reducing rents and increasing the UK's competitiveness.
At present, most empty commercial property receives a 100% relief from taxation for the first three months, and 50% thereafter; and empty warehouses and factories receive a permanent exemption from rates.
However, the current system of providing tax relief for buildings that sit empty can no longer be justified when UK office rents are among highest in the world. From next April 2008, the relief will be modernised. Empty commercial property will be liable for the full business rate after an initial rate-free period of three months, or six months for factories and warehouses.