The present Government’s failure to reduce the tax burden on owners of empty commercial property is partly to blame for a shortage of usable warehousing and storage space that is stifling Britain’s economic recovery, UKWA has warned.
Roger Williams, chief executive officer of UKWA, commented: When the Empty Property Rate Tax Rules were changed in 2008, Ministers justified the move on the grounds that the reforms would provide an incentive for owners to re-use, re-let or re-develop their empty properties.
It was also felt that the changes would result in an increase in the supply of commercial property available to new and existing businesses, thereby helping to reduce rent levels which burden the competitiveness of the UK.
Neither of these things has happened.
The fact is that the tax has not only encouraged the early demolition of older empty warehouse buildings but could also be said to have discouraged the construction of new speculative warehouses.
As a result, companies looking for warehouse accommodation “ be they retailers, manufacturers, importers or specialist logistics services businesses “ are faced with a shortage of available warehouse space and are being forced to pay higher rents as landlords seek to cash-in on the paucity of decent facilities in prime locations by demanding above inflation increases in rents.