From this point forward, all commercial properties standing empty for more than three months will be liable for the full rate of business tax.
Changes were brought about after the CLG said it could no longer justify offering tax relief for such properties – amounting to £1.3 billion in 2007 – which was subsidised by taxes elsewhere, when UK rents were among highest in the world.
It is hoped that this will kickstart investors into bringing these buildings back upto scratch within the initial three-month tax-free period, boosting the commercial rental market.
Previously, empty properties received 100 per cent relief for the first three months and 50 per cent thereafter.
Charities, community amateur sports clubs and companies in administration will still be granted a complete exemption from rates on their empty properties.
Local Government Minister John Healey said: “No-one wants to live or work in a ghost town of empty offices and closed-down shops. These changes will help bring empty buildings back into use, reduce rents for small independent shops and create thriving high streets and town centres.”
The move forms part of a wider package designed to increase UK competitiveness and promote more efficient land and property markets.