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
“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
November 2008 -
Peterborough UK Community Website