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Chamber calls for re-introduction of Business Rate Relief

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Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is urging local businesses to back a petition putting pressure on the Government to reintroduce business rate relief on empty business premises.

Peterborough Chamber of Commerce

According to the Chamber, the abolition of the relief back in April is now having a detrimental effect on the local economy and reintroducing the relief is an obvious way that the Government can help struggling businesses.

The Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007, which came into force on 1 April 2008, removed a 50 per cent rate relief on empty offices and retail outlets and 100 per cent rate relief on industrial units.

John Bridge OBE, Chief Executive of Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, said: “We were very much against the abolition of rate relief from the outset and I myself brought this issue up with Treasury Minister Angela Eagle just a couple of months ago. It is ridiculous that we should find ourselves in the situation we are in now where perfectly functional but empty warehouses are being torn down because the rates payable make them unaffordable.

“Essentially companies are being forced to throw money down the drain – money which in today’s climate they need to be spending on driving their business forward. If the Government fails to act quickly, it could have a detrimental impact on future economic growth and regeneration not just in Peterborough but across the whole of the UK.

“If the Government wants to continue to talk about how it wants to help SMEs, now is the time to hold its hands up. Monday’s pre-budget report would be a timely opportunity to announce the reversal of this ill-founded abolition.”

Ahead of Monday’s report the Chamber’s national counterpart, the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), is also calling for a series of immediate business tax cuts including reductions in National Insurance Contribution rates and a reversal of the increase in small companies corporation tax.

David Frost, Director-General of the BCC, said: "Britain is facing an extraordinary period in its economic history. Current circumstances are unique, and the global credit crisis is entering a critical phase. Monetary policy alone is not enough to help businesses and consumers under unprecedented financial pressure. An effective fiscal package, with tax cuts for businesses at its very core, is paramount."

The petition on the Number 10 website has been instigated by the British Property Foundation (BPF) and can be found at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/emptythreat

November 2008 - Peterborough UK Community Website




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