The Chancellor of the Exchequer has introduced new rules for Local Authorities to retain 100% of their Business Rates revenue.
Councils will certainly be keen to retain employment space if rates could be lost to residential development.

On the other hand partnerships may succeed where a Council supports commercial development and reaps the rewards of further rating income. This would need to be new space, because Councils already receive full empty rates payments from Landlords.

George Osborne’s shake up also permits Councils to reduce their multipliers on rateable value. A standard multiplier (currently 49.3p) was introduced more than 20 years ago and the change back to variable multipliers may produce interesting results. Pressure against loss of employment will be even greater, if Authorities wish to reduce rates bills while maintaining Income streams.

In times of austerity the recent free for all with office conversions will come to an abrupt end – but will this produce further pressures on green belt and Open Space? Could disparities in rating levels produce varying demand between competing Boroughs? It will be interesting to see….