MPs call for urgent action to remove tax on job creation

MPs are calling on the Government to take urgent action on Empty Property Rates (EPR), a tax which is stifling investment, enterprise and job creation across the UK.

At a House of Commons reception on Wednesday, MPs from all major political parties expressed their support for the Business Centre Association’s (BCA) EPR campaign. The reception was attended by leaders of Local Enterprise Partnerships and flexible space operators from around the UK, who explained how investment and speculative development has come to a halt in all regions outside London since the Government lowered the EPR threshold to £2,600 RV in April 2011.

The reception was hosted by Marcus Jones, MP for Nuneaton who said:

“There are several business centres in my constituency. They were all originally built on a speculative basis and have supported many start-up businesses over the years.
Start-ups are critical for bringing growth back in this country. But speculative construction of business centres is being put at risk by Empty Property Rates. This should be of great concern to Government.”

Julian Sturdy MP, who led a debate in the House of Commons last month highlighting the hardship caused by EPR added:

“With the Chancellor’s budget approaching on the 21st March, today’s reception is both important and timely. EPR is an enemy to enterprise and a potential brake on the economy. It is stopping the private sector growth that we need to achieve. The next stage of our campaign is to lobby the Chancellor.”

Business centres and flexible space operators are private-led organisations that support more than 40,000 start ups and SMEs across the UK. They provide easy in, easy out agreements that allow occupiers to expand or contract according to market conditions without financial penalty. As a result of this churn, operators will always have vacant space, achieving a maximum occupancy of around 90 per cent.

Harry Platt, chief executive of the Workspace Group and BCA Chairman said:

“EPR is grossly unfair. It is a recurring tax on well managed existing space which runs at 90 per cent occupancy. It is also a

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