Business rate plans for vacant land dropped

Gerrard Winstanley news at
Wed Mar 12 22:08:52 GMT 2008

So this u-turn is all thanks to the British Property Federation (BPF).
 The old oligarchs calling the shots again.

Budget taxes plan will hit regeneration

Mar 10 2008

BUSINESS leaders have made a last-ditch effort to make Alistair
Darling shelve tax grabbing plans that could severely damage the
regeneration of deprived areas.

In his Budget speech this Wednesday, the Chancellor will abolish rate
relief on empty property from this April, a move slammed by the
British Property Federation (BPF) as irresponsible and likely to
impose a severe burden on businesses at the worst possible time.

Previously, the rate relief had encouraged investors to redevelop
run-down areas.

Few office or retail developments can open with every unit let.
Indeed, much of Canary Wharf was empty for years. But this new blow to
business will be one tax too far for many. Poorer areas in need of
regeneration schemes will suffer hardest, as they pose the greatest
financial risk for businesses.

The government expects to rake in £1billion a year from this move.
However, officials did not properly consult the property or business
industry on the detrimental effects and unintended consequences of the
policy, despite Gordon Brown's promise of 'open government'.

And while the cut in business rate relief may help balance the books
initially, with regeneration schemes likely to be axed, this will mean
less business, less jobs and ultimately less contribution to the
economy in the long term. As speculative development dries up, the
bill for essential regeneration and infrastructure developments will
be left at the door of the taxpayer.

>From April 6, should a shop or office remain unlet for more than three
months, full business rates will be payable; for warehouses the
cut-off is six months.

Clearly it's not in anyone's interest to leave property empty, and the
BPF believes that Treasury officials do not fully appreciate the level
of risk involved for investors.

In a letter sent to the Chancellor, the BPF said it believes the
government has wholly misunderstood and underestimated the detrimental
effects upon the business and investment industries.

The BPF wants the government to either delay the removal of relief
from empty property business rates while it undertakes proper
consultation, or reduce the permanent Empty Property Rate from 100 per
cent to 50 per cent.

Liz Peace, CBE, chief executive of the BPF, said: "This is a
disastrous move that could have consequences far beyond the lifespan
of this government.

"Despite all the talk of open government, this ill-conceived move has
been brought in without fair and proper consultation."

--- In diggers350 at, "Massimo A. Allamandola"
<suburbanstudio at ...> wrote:
> Budget news: Business rate plans for vacant land dropped
> Domenic Donatantonio
> PlanningResource
> 12 March 2008
> Chancellor Alistair Darling has announced in his first budget 
> that the government will not pursue plans to extend business rates 
> to include derelict and vacant previously developed land.
> The other key points that affect planning in the budget are:
> * New non-domestic buildings should be zero carbon by 2019, with
public sector buildings reaching the standard by 2018.
> * Sites on central government surplus land have been identified with
potential for 70,000 new homes.
> * DCLG aims to formally consult on draft regulations for the
community infrastructure levy (CIL) in autumn 2008, with a view to
finalising them in spring 2009. The department will make further
announcements on CIL before the summer.
> * The government will set out the definition of a zero-carbon home
by the end of 2008, following a consultation this summer.
> * Funding will be given for a 2016 zero-carbon delivery unit to
guide, monitor and co-ordinate the initiative.
> * A fund of £26 million will be created to help make existing
homes greener.

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