There has finally been some relief from the government’s widely hated empty rates legislation following Alistair Darling’s announcement in this week’s pre-budget report that empty property rates will be scrapped for properties with an estimated value of less than £250,000, a figure that Darling says represents around 70% of empty commercial buildings in Britain.
Since the announcement there has been a mixed industry response with anti-empty rates campaigners, including the BPF, Property Week and the BCA calling it a “hollow gesture” that will simply not be enough to make any real difference to the troubles seen in the commercial property industry since the introduction of empty rates earlier in the year which have included building demolitions.
Yesterday the BPF said that Darling’s claim that 70% of Britain’s commercial buildings would be included in the new rates relief was “misleading” as this figure includes a number of premises which cannot reasonably be considered as commercial properties, including cash machines and advertising hoardings.
The new relief plans will come into effect next April for the year 2009/10.
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