On Thursday 15th November, Sir David Amess MP raised with the Leader of the House of Commons the issue of ‘meanwhile leases’ and businesses rates. Many voluntary and charitable groups use these leases to take up temporarily vacant business properties, but may still face full business rates.
Speaking in the House of Commons Chamber, the MP asked: ‘Will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on the use of meanwhile spaces? Under present arrangements, charity shops, artists and entrepreneurs often take these spaces for three months and then face the full business charge, which seems very unfair under the circumstances.’
The Rt. Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons, responded; ‘My hon. Friend raises an important issue. He will be aware that the Government introduced a range of business rate reforms worth over £13 billion in England over the next five years, and that we want to encourage the use of empty town centre properties by some of those occupiers who can contribute to the vitality of town centres. We launched our “open doors” project this month, which matches community groups looking for spaces with empty commercial properties and I encourage him to speak directly to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Ministers to see what more can be done to protect them from unnecessary costs.’