Councils have universally backed the commercial property industry's campaign for the restoration of tax relief on empty buildings.

The campaign, led by the BPF and trade magazine Property Week, calls for the £1bn tax, introduced in April this year, to be scrapped in tomorrow's pre-Budget report. Previously, tax relief was granted as companies were not getting rent from buildings that stood idle.

A survey, by commercial property adviser Atisreal, of 400 councils which collect the tax showed all were opposed to the legislation. More than 60 per cent said the number of court summonses for non-repayment of business rates had increased as a result.

Independent of Sunday