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House Commons Reception To Debate

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The BCA is the UK's only trade organisation representing the flexible space sector. The reception will be held on Wednesday 28th October and will detail the impact the tax has had on the commercial property and SME sectors as well as the wider economy since the legislation was introduced in 2008.  


The BCA has lobbied against the change to the empty property rates legislation since its introduction, arguing that it is a tax on hardship and has had a negative impact on regeneration and halted the building of many speculative developments.

Jennifer Brooke, executive director at the BCA comments: "The empty property rates legislation has been one of the most ill-timed changes to property tax in the last decade.


"As it has proved to be a revenue-stream for a now cash-strapped Government, it is feared that it is here to to stay. However, as it has demonstrated to be so damaging to UK PLC, especially in the current economic climate, it is imperative that the current threshold is maintained and not removed."


Gareth Evans, board member of the BCA and the managing director of Bizspace, is attending the BCA reception and is clear that the issue of empty property rates should be at the forefront of MPs minds particularly as we move closer to the Chancellors pre-budget report.


Evans comments: "It is vital that MPs understand that empty property rates are not just a tax that is affecting the commercial property market but that it has, and will continue to have, a negative impact on the wider economy as a result of its enduring effect on the SME sector.


"I am concerned that with rumours that the original empty property rate threshold of £2,200RV could be reintroduced for many properties, the effect will be totally detrimental and have a damaging impact on small businesses and the UK economy."


"In addition to the increasing amount of empty space in the market, development and refurbishment of space has virtually ground to a halt."


Tom Stokes, managing director of Evans Easyspace and the immediate past chair of the BCA, agrees that the current threshold on empty property rates should be retained for at least another year, preferably on a permanent basis.


Stokes says: "If we see the threshold of empty property rates rise, I believe it will stymie the much-needed regeneration of many of the UK's key urban centres, which will in turn have grave long-term implications on the wider economy.


"In terms of the flexible space market, empty property rates have hampered the growth of the sector as many larger providers are too wary to expand current facilities or move into different market places due to the potential tax implications.


"The government needs to realise that the serviced office and managed workspace sector is vital to the small business market.


"To increase the threshold next year would seriously undermine small businesses just at a time when we all believe that the economy may be picking up and companies are starting to get back on their feet."


Matthew Farrow, head of energy, transport and planning at the CBI concludes: "The deepest recession for many years has been the worst time to drastically scale back empty property rate relief.  The Government should consider restoring the full relief, but at the very least it must maintain the threshold allowing properties under £15,000 to claim relief'

Notes to Editor:

BCA information

The BCA is the only UK trade association representing the business centre and managed workspace industry. Established in 1989, it specialises in providing support and guidance to owners and operators of centres, while setting industry standards and encouraging a network of excellence.

The BCA also provides an invaluable advice and location finder service for potential users of business centres and managed workspace with more than 800 member locations and 500,000 workstations, incorporating 40m sq ft of managed office space around the UK, ranging from small independent to large international operators, both in city centre and out of town business park locations, the Association is guaranteed to find the perfect workspace for your business.