Business Rates - Thanet Tories call for relief (August 26th 2008)
Thanetís Tories, Roger Gale MP (North Thanet) and Laura Sandys (South Thanet) are seeking support from The Shadow Treasury and Local Government Front Bench teams for an immediate concession on business rates in areas in receipt of assisted status.
The move follows meetings with the Leader of Thanet District Council and representations from local Chambers of Commerce in response to Government requirements that business rates should be levied against commercial properties empty for more than three months.
Gale and Sandys have written to Eric Pickles (Local Government) and Justine Greening (Treasury) making the case that it is a nonsense for assistance to be given with one hand and taken away with the other. In a joint statement they have said:
"Nobody wishes to see offices and retail premises left vacant for longer than necessary but it is clear that everyone outside Downing Street recognises that we are heading further into recession and that the economic climate is likely to worsen before it gets better. It must, therefore, be wrong to penalise property owners who simply cannot fill the premises that they control. Equally, we do not want to deter appropriate speculative development of sites that will be needed when, under a new government, we are able to bring about a revival of the economy. We therefore wish to see not only Thanet but all of the very few remaining assisted areas granted a much longer period of grace before business rates are imposed on empty buildings. That decision needs to be taken now and as we have to wait for a General Election we have asked our own front bench to support efforts to persuade the present Government to act immediately"