DTZ director O’Keefe concerned over empty rates tax

Michael Hunt

Anthony O'Keefe, industrial agency director at DTZ in Manchester, believes the Pre-Budget report has failed to address problems caused by the empty rates tax.

A concerned O'Keefe said: "The Government has failed to address the problems caused by this tax, which is a tax on failure, despite this very small concession for the very smallest of properties.

"Tax should be levied on a gain. An empty commercial building represents lost revenue and added cost to business in terms of security, maintenance and insurance and the Government is continuing to add to the burden.

"Many commercial buildings are owned by pension funds and any extra taxation inevitably reduces the amount generated for pension scheme members. However, the majority of empty buildings are held by operating companies and increasing their tax burden – to the tune of £1bn per year – only results in their being less profitable and consequently less competitive at a time when the Government should be doing all it can to help struggling business, whatever its size."

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, delivered the 2009 Pre-Budget Report yesterday.

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