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Non-Domestic Rates: Empty Property

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the additional net revenue raised from reductions in empty property business rate relief in each year since 2007-08; and what estimate he has made of the change in revenue arising from the end to the lower threshold from April 2010. (308418)

The impact assessment of the reforms to the Empty Property business rate relief which came into force on 1 April 2008 estimated that these would increase net tax yields by £950 million in 2008-09, £900 million in 2009-10 and £900 million every year thereafter. The full impact assessment can be seen at:

Data on the amount of Empty Property Relief actually paid out are collected annually from local authorities. However, changes in these amounts will not only be due to the recent reforms; other factors like the number, type and value of empty hereditaments will also play their part.

In 2009-10 all empty properties with rateable values up to £15,000 are eligible for full relief from business rates—70 per cent. of all properties are under this threshold and, if empty, are not liable for rates in 2009-10. This temporary measure is providing real help to owners to manage short-term pressures in a difficult property market.

No estimate has been made of the change in revenue arising from the end to the temporary reform of the empty property relief scheme. In the pre-Budget report the Chancellor announced that the temporary increase in the threshold at which an empty property becomes liable for Business Rate Relief is being extended for a further year and that the amount of this threshold has been increased to £18,000. The full pre Budget report can be seen at:

Regulations and an accompanying impact assessment to give effect to this amount will be brought forward in due course.