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Exemption on empty properties welcome; COMMERCIAL PROPERTY.

THE chancellor's decision to help small businesses through the financial crisis with a one-year exemption on empty business property rates has been welcomed by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

Plans to make properties with a rate able value of pounds 15,000 or less temporarily exempt from empty property tax for the 2009-10 financial year were announced on November 24.

Caroline Bedell, CLA West Midlands director, said: "This is what the CLA has been calling for.

"However, we would urge the government to make it permanent to provide reassurance and stability on a long-term basis for investors in rural business properties for let, especially those with extended borrowings.

"As the chancellor noted, small and medium businesses are the backbone of the UK's economy and, in this difficult financial time, they are in need of all the help they can get."

Mrs Bedell added: "However, as always with reports of this kind, the devil is in the detail, and we are closely examining the entire report and its potential impact on landowners."

In his pre-budget report, Mr Darling said: "To help small firms meet their running costs, I can announce a temporary increase in the threshold for empty property relief.

"For 2009/10, empty commercial properties with a rateable value below pounds 15,000, will be exempt from business rates.

"This exemption covers an estimated 70 per cent of all empty properties."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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