British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace has called on the Government to re-apply empty rates relief in an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

A BPF spokesman said: 'From the start of April, owners of commercial property saw relief from paying businesses rates on empty space cut in a move to raise £1bn for the Treasury.

'Local government minister John Healey claimed the move would reduce rents and increase the supply of property, ignoring the reality that a lack of demand was to blame for empty space.

Lobbying alongside the CBI, RICS and BRC, the BPF believes that this would do nothing but harm the economy and cost the government far more in the long term.'

'While regeneration schemes would be hit, the cost to business would be huge with less flexibility and a reduced supply of secondary space.'

To listen to the interview with Liz Peace on the BBC's website click HERE and fast forward to 8m 20sec.