Published 5 May 2017

Guy Gowing2

Guy Gowing | Managing Partner

Lots has already been said about housing on the hustings, but commercial property is an equally important part of the economy. So just in case our politicians have forgotten how important it is to the economy, here is my five point manifesto for the commercial property sector.

A low business tax regime to encourage business

As well as being crucial for growth, jobs and the prosperity of the wider economy, businesses thriving in a low-tax environment is also crucial for the health of the commercial property market – because in the end that market is dependent on demand from occupiers.  We have a major challenge around the corner – we don’t need any big tax hurdles thrown up as we deal with that challenge.

A decisive plan for a smooth Brexit

Perhaps the government does have a realistic negotiating plan, but the kind of unhelpful utterances coming from the Brexit Secretary hardly inspire confidence.  We want some certainty, as soon as possible.  Whoever ends up negotiating Brexit on our behalf needs to be realistic, and avoid the temptation to play up to the more vociferous sections of the media.

Continue to review the business rates system

Business rates were originally intended to be an occupiers’ tax, but it has moved far from being this, and developed into an unfair system which needs a root and branch reform.  First, tax on vacant buildings should be abolished; secondly, the current system of small business rate relief is too open to manipulation.  As for revaluations, the timing of these is almost always counter-cyclical, and the process does not reflect changes in the real-world business market, such as the shift from bricks and mortar to online retail.

Continue to invest in infrastructure

The current major investment in infrastructure is quite Un-Conservative – but very welcome.  The benefits of large projects such as Crossrail, and more locally the NDR, will be felt for generations to come.  The new government must resist the temptation to cut back on infrastructure investment for short-term fiscal reasons – because we will all pay for that in the long run.

Reinstate attractive capital allowances for businesses to invest in the UK

Since its introduction in 2008, the Annual Investment Allowance has yoyo-ed between £25,000 per annum and £500,000 per annum, depending on the whim of the Chancellor of the moment.  Business investment is a long-term deal dependent on certainty; the new government must stop messing around with the system and reinstate generous investment allowances for the long-term.

If you have any questions for our commercial team of experts please feel free to contact us

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