Scottish landlords face being driven to the brink of ruin by the Scottish Government’s proposed reform of Empty Property Rates Relief. The new plan, which passed by its first stage this afternoon, will see landlords become liable for 90% of non-domestic rates on all but the smallest properties, compared with the current maximum of 50%.
“Far from offering a solution to empty shops and office blocks, this plan will heap more pressure on beleaguered landlords. For those already struggling with the running costs of empty buildings, it may just prove the final straw”, says Ken Thurtell, head of the Glasgow office of rating experts, Gerald Eve.
“We are now faced with the prospect of seeing more landlords go under, which could have a highly adverse effect on our high streets and business districts. This seems like a high risk strategy for the sake of raising an additional £18m revenue, which represents under 1% of Scotland’s annual rates take”, he continues.
The plan to slash Empty Rates Relief, first revealed last September, has already been roundly criticised by senior figures in the Scottish Parliament and business leaders, including the CBI.