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Filling Gordon's Hole

Brown in new stealth tax row-Business-TimesOnline

GORDON BROWN was accused by the Liberal Democrats this weekend of carrying out a £3 billion stealth-tax raid on British pensions and funds.

The Lib Dems claim that changes to the rules governing empty-property rate relief will wipe some £3 billion from the value of commercial properties owned by British pension and life-insurance funds, which control £250 billion of commercial buildings....

Under the new system, office and shop landlords will have to pay rates on properties that have been empty for three months or more. Previously, they had to start paying only when properties had been empty for six months.

Industrial property owners will have to pay rates on properties that have been empty for six months or more. Before, they did not have to pay any rates on empty industrial buildings. ....

Void periods are often necessary to allow landlords to refurbish buildings when a tenant leaves, and if a tenant goes bust it can take several months for the landlord to get the property back from the administrator or receiver and find a replacement....

Oakeshott said: “Six months is a reasonable time period to re-let an office block or shopping centre — three months is not.

“Reducing the time period for voids on offices and shops is a tax hitting well-managed pension-fund property.”

He added: “This shows that the Treasury has no idea how the property market works ...

Oh yes they do, they spotted an opportunity to tax something that had been missed before so they did, as long as they get a bit more in the short term to fill Gordon's yawning chasm now they don't care about the future consequences. Trying to arrange a new tenant, even after one has been found takes months as the professional leeches of lawyers and estate agents take their time so this will reduce the mobility in the market. And if empty industrial sheds are to be taxed then where will be the reserve that is built and ready for businesses to expand into? It all acts as a brake on the economy.


So it's back to taking the roofs off empty industrial buildings - cheaper than a few months rates as a temporary solution but quickly resulting in dereliction. What foresight! From the party that stresses "Forward Not Back!"

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