Scrapped property relief rate hits SMEs

The government’s decision to scrap Empty Property Rate Relief has left many SMEs out of pocket, says the Forum of Private Business.


The government’s decision to scrap Empty Property Rate Relief has left many SMEs out of pocket, says the Forum of Private Business.

The government’s decision to scrap Empty Property Rate Relief has left many SMEs out of pocket, says the Forum of Private Business.
 
Changes to the Empty Property Rate Relief in April mean that businesses now have to pay full rates on empty buildings.

Jonathan Williamson, owner of property company Granville Estates, says the tax is draconian as it is unrelated to income.

He adds: ‘In the past I’ve paid nothing for empty industrial units. Now, on one empty property alone I have to pay £29,000. It is bringing no income in and I could be forced to sell it.’

Jean Pittfield, owner of storage company Associated Storage, had previously paid half of the rates on her empty property but now has to pay the full tax.

She says: ‘The bigger property developers can knock down their empty buildings to avoid paying these additional rates. But our empty premises are above the office. Not many small businesses can afford to start knocking down buildings.’
 

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