Property industry bosses have launched a last-ditch attempt to persuade the government to reverse its decision to abolish empty property relief, arguing that it will stall regeneration of rundown areas and hit small businesses. Sunday Telegraph

In a letter to Chancellor Alistair Darling the property industry called on the government to either delay the removal of relief pending proper consultation or halve the rate charged.

Un-let industrial properties are exempt from business rates and the tax only becomes payable on office and retail space after three months and then at only half the normal rate. From April 5 this year, full business rates will be due on empty shops and offices, and on industrial space after six months.