Empty property relief to be scrapped

Most small businesses will soon no longer be able to benefit from empty property business rate relief.

The relief currently provides owners and occupiers of small properties with an exemption from business rates if the property is empty, for example during times of economic hardship.

The coalition government will cut the threshold at which empty property relief is granted from £18,000 to just £2,600 in April in a move that is expected to boost tax revenues by £400 million.

Chris Barker, senior rating consultant at Commercial Valuers and Surveyors says, ‘Recessions have always been a fact of economic life and the relief has provided small business with a measure of protection in a time of genuine hardship. Removing it will have very serious consequences for thousands of small businesses across England and Wales and at the worst possible time.’

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Business rates