The Royal Insitution of Chartered Surveyors has come out fighting over empty rates as pressure on the government increases this week.

RICS spokesman on the topic, Jerry Schurder, said: ‘A government rethink on empty property rates would undoubtedly be the right course of action in the current economic climate.

The Government should double void relief periods from three months for shops and offices and six months for warehouses and factories to six and 12 months respectively to reflect the time needed to assemble sites, enable regeneration and facilitate the re-letting of buildings.

‘It should also reduce the level of empty rate liability from 100% to 50% as allowed under the Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007.’

The RICS said it believed that empty property rates could work against regeneration, particularly in poor areas. It also said there would be more demolitions, which would decrease the stock available, leading to an increase in rents, the opposite to the government’s original intention in introducing the tax.

The RICS said it also went against the government’s sustainability agenda.