commercial property lambert smith hampton

Viewpoint - 17/03/2014

Budget 2014: ‘Unfair’ business rates need updating

Ahead of this week’s Budget, Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) calls on the Chancellor to revamp the much maligned business rates regime in order to promote property development and meet the needs of the nascent economic recovery.

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Richard Wackett, National Head of Rating at LSH, argues: "A combination of full empty rate charges and the failure to revalue has unfairly affected those sectors which most need help.

Revaluation can't wait until 2017

"Since the last revaluation in 2010, which was linked to a valuation date at April 2008, property values have continued to falter, particularly in the north. There is now an urgent need to redistribute the overall burden of rates between those areas in recovery and those which are not. The only way to do this is to revalue urgently - we can’t wait until 2017 as the government currently proposes.

"In addition the 100% charge to owners of empty commercial and industrial buildings has left the most buoyant sectors without grade A accommodation. Businesses have been forced to make do with poorer second hand stock, which is slowing the economic recovery and pushing up rents."

Fundamental barriers to growth

Richard concluded: "A sensible Budget will seek to address the underlying issues in the interests of growth. A continued policy of tinkering with minor adjustments will not affect the fundamental barriers to growth.

"We call on the Chancellor to abolish the hated empty rate charges and point to an early revaluation, although there are no signs of a government commitment to either before the next election in May 2015."

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