New campaign aims to thwart damaging tax
Date published: 12 July 2012
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is launching a major new initiative aimed at tackling a damaging property tax, which threatens the future of thousands of rural businesses in the North.
Working in conjunction with the British Property Federation, the CLA is gathering an extensive portfolio of evidence to present to Government, highlighting how non-domestic rates levied on empty business properties have caused financial havoc for small business owners over the past four years.
The CLA first warned of the empty property tax “time bomb” at the beginning of last year, predicting that hundreds of farmers and landowners, who had diversified into commercial lets, would be hit by changes to empty property rates.
In April last year, the Government removed exemptions that meant empty properties with a rateable value below £18,000 did not have to pay rates. Since then, members with empty commercial property valued at more than £2,600 have been liable to pay the full business rate bill.
Now the CLA is gathering evidence from members of the rural business community in the North to illustrate to Government the extent of the damage caused by the tax to businesses and the communities in which they operate.
CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said: “The issue of having to pay non domestic rates on empty commercial property remains an issue of very real concern for many CLA members. In the current economic climate, many have lost tenants from their office and workshop conversions and are now looking at massive empty property tax bills.
“The problem is aggravated by the fact that many of these properties are in rural areas with poor or non-existent broadband provision, which makes it almost impossible to attract new tenants.”
Miss Fairburn added: “At the very least the Government needs to put some type of concession in place for small business owners, who face the very real prospect of financial ruin because of this tax.
“If left unchecked, it will encourage demolition and other actions to make buildings unusable, which will not only threaten economic recovery in rural areas but also leave a terrible legacy for generations to come.”
Anyone affected by non-domestic rates should email their details to: firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 27 July. All information will be handled in the strictest of confidence.
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