Landlords support call to ‘scrap’ empty property rates proposal

20 Jun 2012

Policy area: Business rates

The Scottish Property Federation has backed calls by the Scottish Conservatives to scrap proposals to increase empty property rates.

Scottish Conservative Finance Spokesman Gavin Brown MSP today described the planned increase by the Scottish Government ‘as a complete mess’. He added: “Everyone wants to see empty properties brought back onto the market, but almost nobody believes this is the way to make that happen.

“Most properties are empty because there is a lack of demand in the market; simply taxing them more will do nothing to help.”

The issue is due to be debated in Holyrood this Thursday.

David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, said: “We are pleased to see that the Scottish Conservatives at Holyrood recognise how damaging the introduction of empty property rates in Scotland would be to the economy.  We call on other parties at Holyrood to support the proposal to be debated on Thursday to drop the planned increases in empty property rates.

“There is no evidence to suggest that this tax hike will bring buildings back in to use. The experience in England is that instead it will lead to the demolition of perfectly usable buildings and choke off the development of new business space – particularly for SMEs, who rely on a steady supply of vacant property in which to grow.”