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Non-Domestic Rates: Empty Property

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects on small businesses of the change in the level of empty property rate since its introduction on 1 April 2008. (243679)

The Department of Communities and Local Government published an impact assessment of the empty property rate relief reforms in May 2007 alongside the primary legislation.

On 26 February this year, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government laid a further assessment before the House, alongside the regulations.

The Government announced in the recent pre-Budget report, a temporary increase, for 2009-10, to the threshold (from £2,200 to £15,000) at which an empty property becomes liable for business rates.

This was targeted at helping small businesses who own lower value properties manage short-term pressures due to difficult property market conditions. It is estimated more than 70 per cent. of empty properties will pay no business rates in 2009-10.

The Government keep all taxes and reliefs under review.