BCA Petitions Government to Kill Stifling Business Tax
This month in the House of Commons, MPs debated the Empty Property Rates tax threshold, thanks to the efforts of a campaign led by the Business Centre Association (BCA).
The BCA campaign is gathering signatures in opposition to the tax against empty office space, which was lowered in April 2011 from ┬ú18,000 to just ┬ú2,600, putting what the BCA refers to as ΓÇÿconsiderable financial pressureΓÇÖ on SMEs and start-ups nationwide.
ΓÇ£BCA members serve more than 40,000 start-ups and SMEs in the UK, nurturing entrepreneurs and organisations that are the lifeblood of the British economy,ΓÇ¥ says BCA Executive Director, Jennifer Brooke.
ΓÇ£Having fast access to flexible space is essential for the survival of start-ups and SMEs, but the current EPR tax is stifling innovation and causing the sector to stagnate. If this situation continues there will be no additional supply of flexible workspace at a time when it is most needed to aid the UKΓÇÖs fragile economic recovery.ΓÇ¥
ΓÇÿThe Absolute Right to Aspire and AchieveΓÇÖ
In 2010, the BCA was successful in influencing the previous governmentΓÇÖs decision to raise the threshold to ┬ú18,000 and the industry trade body once again brought MPs from all major parties together last week to rally around the topic at a House of Commons reception on Wednesday 15th February 2012.
Among those in attendance were Marcus Jones, MP for Nuneaton; Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation; Harry Platt, chief executive of the Workspace Group and BCA Chairman; Tom Stokes, Chairman at The Right Space Properties Ltd and former BCA Chairman; and Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer, who recently spoke out in the House of Commons against the unfair tax measures.
ΓÇ£One of my core principles in life is that every person has the absolute right to aspire and achieve without unfair burdens being placed on their shoulders,ΓÇ¥ declared Mr Sturdy. ΓÇ£In the current economic climate, our inherited policy of rating empty properties is unfair.
ΓÇ£We seriously run the risk of driving small business men and women into the ground, particularly in rural areas, where a number of small retail and commercial properties have been developed on diversified land. The owners are not wealthy property tycoons and often possess only limited experience of property management.
ΓÇ£It is wrong to believe that every property owner can take the hit of tax on empty properties; many simply cannot. To lay the blame for such a situation at the door of the coalition government is entirely foolish and short-sighted.ΓÇ¥
Gathering Support From Across the UK
Mr Sturdy was not alone in parliament, as he was vocally supported by MPs Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire), Jason McCartney (Colne Valley), Mark Pawsey (Rugby), Guto Bebb (Aberconwy), Paul Uppal (Wolverhampton South West) and Rebecca Harris (Castle Point).
Many of the MPs in attendance related tragic tales of struggling business men and women from their own constituencies who are now facing closure due to an inability to pay current tax rates on empty property.
Sign the BCA e-petition online now and help support SMEs and start-ups across the UK.