The Government has revealed the final details of the reform of business rates.
Local government minister John Healey officially laid the regulations in Parliament yesterday to enable the introduction of reforms to empty property rates on April 1.
The government has to publish details 20 days before legislation comes in, so it has published ahead of its deadline at the end of this week.
The reforms, announced in the 2007 Budget, have been controversial, with some estimates suggesting that the government could net £1bn a year from the changes.
The latest details confirmed that the government will:
- Increase the empty property rate from 50% to 100% of the basic occupied business rate
- Provide a new power to reduce the empty property rate, to enable ministers to change it if necessary if market conditions deteriorate
- Allow for measures to be added to tackle vandalism for those who damage the property to make it unusable and thus not liable for rates
- Extend the exemption to companies in administration as well as liquidation
Local Government Minister John Healey said: ‘Empty business premises are a blot on the landscape for our most deprived communities, giving a signal to both residents and potential investors to move onto the next town.
‘These changes to empty property rates will encourage owners to keep their premises in use, revitalising deprived areas as new businesses move in bringing much-needed employment opportunities, and making these towns and cities better places to live.’