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    Default Empty Rates tax 'paving the way for future instability'

    Empty rates could cause long term instability to the commercial property market according to a survey released today.

    The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) and Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) Empty Property Rates (EPR) survey found property owners are increasingly turning to demolition to avoid paying the tax.

    The research comes on the eve of the Budget, when a suspected £1 billion move by the chancellor to boost the housing market is expected tomorrow. Although stamp duty is likely to remain at its £175,000 threshold, there has been little mentioned of the EPR, which the British Property Federation (BPF) has named the "tax on hardship".

    The survey is the first industry review of the tax since its controversial introduction a year ago, with 93 per cent of respondents claiming it was "exacerbating the financial difficulties".




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