Tax break for vacant new buildings

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A SCOTTISH Government move to scrap business rates for new properties that lie empty has been welcomed by business leaders.

But ministers are facing renewed pressure to ditch plans to slash rates relief for older commercial premises lying empty.

Local government minister Derek MacKay unveiled the tax break for new builds yesterday to encourage development and investment. It covers new empty properties from April and can apply for 18 months.

Mr Mackay said: “Scotland already has the most competitive rates regime in the UK, worth more than £500 million annually, and it’s important that in tough times we listen to our developers and our business community, and take steps to encourage their continued investment in the economy.”

David Lonsdale of CBI Scotland said: “The Scottish Government should go much further and think afresh about their previous decision, which will penalise the majority of firms with empty premises to the tune of £36m.”