The property industry is to make a last-ditch effort to persuade the government to reverse its £1.3bn tax on empty commercial buildings, claiming it could stymie development and lead to urban wastelands. Financial Times

The industry-wide attempt has been pre-empted by government threats of legislation, should there be any evasion of the tax, however. Introduced today, the tax sees property owners pay rates on all unoccupied buildings for the first time, after a limited grace period.

The move is set to net the government up to £1.3bn a year, as well as support its ambition to help businesses find premises.

But it has met opposition from across the industry, including occupiers and developers, who say they will knock down buildings to leave derelict sites rather than keep or build potentially costly buildings in a difficult market.

The British Property Federation, along with the British Retail Consortium, Business Centre Association and the corporate occupier’s body CoreNet Global, will today call for the legislation to be dropped.