Our Thoughts
Wed, 06/03/2024 - 12:00
· 1 min read

Spring Statement 2024 Reaction | Business Rates

The ‘Owners’ of empty property in England breathed a sigh of relief today, as the Government’s latest changes to empty property rates could easily have gone further.

From 1 April 2024 the current ‘six-week reset period’ is to be extended to 13 weeks’ continuous occupation, required in order to reset the 100% exemption period from empty rates. 

The exemption period is to remain at three months for all commercial property, except industrials that are entitled to six months’ exemption. 13 weeks (approximately three months) is the “middle ground” as Government had suggested a 6 month reset period (as is the case in Wales; in Scotland the criteria is devolved to local councils).  Thankfully, today’s announcement does allow honest ratepayers the opportunity to manage their empty rate liability, in view of multiple Court judgements that clarify the points that businesses and councils must follow when dealing with empty rate relief claims.

A new Film Studio Relief is to come into effect for a ten year period from 1 April 2024.  At Revaluation 2023 this sector endured massive increases in rateable value from those that applied during the currency of the 2017 rating list. Some increases were as much as 600%. This sector lobbied Government hard and we await more detail as to how the scheme will work in practice.

Although not a new announcement, the Retail Rate Relief scheme is mentioned in the small print as continuing for another year.  Relief from occupied rates for retail and leisure business occupiers is to continue at 75%, capped at £110,000 per business.

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Spring Statement 2024 Reaction | Business Rates