The British Property Federation has reignited its long-running campaign to overturn planned hikes in empty rates thresholds after the government promised a Parliamentary debate if an online petition attracts more than 100,000 signatures.

The BPF is calling on the property industry to sign the petition at the Directgov Website (see weblink below) which asks government to remove the “unfair empty property rates (EPR) threshold from £2,600 rateable value (RV) and reinstate the £18,000 RV threshold under which EPR are not payable for a minimum period of two years”.

The empty rates petition has so far attracted over 700 supporters since its Monday launch.

Dubbed the “bombsite Britain” tax, empty property rates levy full business rates on unoccupied offices, shops and warehouses and has, the BPF estimates, led to millions of square feet of property being demolished since its introduction.

The coalition government lowered the threshold from £18,000 to £2,600 in April this year, costing businesses the BPF says an estimated £400m a year, “putting considerable pressure on SMEs and start-ups and damaging job creation”.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, said: “The property industry needs to keep fighting this tax on hardship that has had such a damaging impact on both the industry itself and the wider economy.

“Property is a fundamental driver of our economy and taxing empty space acts like a ball and chain as the industry searches for growth and economic recovery.

“I would urge everyone to sign the petition and let government know just how damaging empty property rates have been.”

Source – Costar UK