MP Warns Government: "You can't afford NOT to act on Empty Property Rates

The MP who led the parliamentary working group on Empty Property Rates (EPR) has warned that the current EPR threshold is acting as a brake on economic recovery in the UK.

Speaking last week ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer said:

“Having spent months investigating the full impact of EPR, our working group has built up a detailed picture of the hardship that it is creating around the country. Our evidence shows that the system is unfair and counterproductive. It is acting as a brake both on the Government’s growth agenda and on wider economic recovery.

“Rather than incentivising investment and growth, EPR is penalising failure. That’s the reason why I took up this case, and why the BCA’s campaign on EPR is so important.”

“If Treasury officials say that we can’t afford to act on EPR, I would say that, given the Government’s welcome drive to create growth, we can’t afford not to do it”.

Mr Sturdy was hosting the BCA’s second EPR reception to be held in the House of Commons this year, attended by MPs, LEPs, flexible space operators, and representatives of the wider property sector. This year 68 MPs have shown their support for the BCA’s campaign.

Jennifer Brooke, Executive Director of the BCA said:

“Flexible space operators, who nurture 10 per cent of all small companies and start-ups in the UK, are perfectly placed to support the Government in its drive towards economic recovery.

“However, since the EPR threshold was lowered from £18,000 RV to £2,600 RV in April 2011, they have had to shoulder a heavy financial burden which is deterring investment, causing uncertainty and putting jobs at risk.

“As a result of EPR, all significant development outside London is on indefinite hold, and regeneration schemes are being shelved in vulnerable regions.

“If we are to help the Government meet its target of creating 900,000 new businesses in the UK, the sector requires a steady stream of quality office and work space

to stimulate growth and accommodate the next generation of entrepreneurs. At current EPR levels, it is unfeasible for the private sector to rise to this challenge.”

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