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Deloitte comments on empty rates

5 December 2012

Following The Chancellor’s statement Robert Murdoch, partner and head of rating at Deloitte, comments on empty property rates:

“To promote further private investment, the Government will exempt all newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 from empty property rates for the first 18 months, up to the state aids limit subject to consultation.

“This provides very limited relief to what is seen by many as a penal tax imposed on empty and often unletable properties. There is no doubt developers will welcome this modest relief.  However what the Chancellor has failed to address is the disastrous effect that Empty Property rates is having on empty properties.

“Swathes of our high streets contain up to 50 per cent boarded up shops.  Many old industrial properties are mothballed.  Either the tenants or the owners of these properties are liable for full rates on these properties after a short rate free period.

“As a result of these costs ratepayers are seeking ways to mitigate the rates and, despite councils resisting, winning cases at court. Many buildings have been demolished and left as a pile of rubble so removing them from any future economic use when the economy recovers.  Ratepayers are resorting to temporary beneficial occupations to re-trigger further void periods.

“Properties are not deliberately kept empty, in the vast majority of cases, they are empty only because of the current state of the economy. The proposed relief is not going to bring benefit to where it is most needed.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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