‘Rates are a threat to growth’ warning

Disappointed: Jeremy Wilson
Disappointed: Jeremy Wilson
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The reintroduction of charging business rates on small properties could stunt economic growth in Yorkshire, according to Knight Frank partner Jeremy Wilson.

Mr Wilson, who is based at the international property consultancy’s Sheffield office, says the changes reduce the rateable value of properties on which rates must be paid from £18,000 to £2,600.

“Businesses and developers need support to re-start growth and encourage investment but the new empty rates tax measures will substantially hinder this process,” said Mr Wilson.

“It is disappointing that the Chancellor decided not to return to the position prior to 2008 when empty office and retail properties received 50 per cent relief and industrial properties 100 per cent relief. In the current recession businesses are ultimately the key drivers for the economy to recover. They should not be subject to this additional tax.

“Prospects of a recovery in the commercial property market are being jeopardised by the controversial tax on unoccupied property. Businesses will be reluctant to relocate to new premises if they are left to pay business rates on their vacant existing premises, whilst developers cannot afford to incur empty rates whilst seeking occupiers for new premises.

“There is the fear that when the economy does return to full steam there’ll be a lack of commercial properties on the market, not only in Yorkshire but nationwide.”