£26.5m is lost in commercial rates in Bradford district

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Magnet Magnet

About 1,800 commercial premises in the district are standing empty in what has been described as a “lost opportunity” for the economy and regeneration of Bradford.

Latest figures, obtained under Freedom of Information rules, show that these commercial premises have a rateable value of £26.5 million.

The leader of Bradford Council, Councillor David Green, told the Telegraph & Argus: “The issue of business rates is important to the Council’s coffers but it’s the lost opportunity for the economic development and regeneration of the district that is equally as crucial.

“If we have got empty commercial properties, then it’s a missed opportunity for the Bradford economy and a much wider issue than simply the collection of business rates.”

His comments come as the Council is preparing to take control of its business rates from April.

At the moment, business rates are collected locally and given to the Government, which then redistributes them back to authorities as part of the formula grant. In recent years Bradford has collected about half of the amount it receives back – which in 2010/2011 was a difference of £117m.

Each authority is expected to be given a fair starting point based on this year’s funding, with a system of top-ups and tariffs put in place to distribute the rates. Bradford is expected to make use of the top-up system.

Out of the 1,800 empty commercial properties, 267 command a rateable value of £20,000 a year or more. This includes 46 properties over £50,000, 36 over £100,00, six over £200,000, seven over £300,000 and three over £400,000.

Coun Green added that there were a number of “carrots” the authority had at its disposal, including the new £35m city centre growth zone and the Super Connected Cities broadband project. The growth zone is designed to support new and existing businesses and help create jobs by offering rate relief.

“Within the boundaries of the growth zone, there are a large number of commercial properties that are empty that would fit in within the scheme. I think this will be a great incentive for people to bring back a lot of these properties into use.

“Outside of the city centre, we clearly need to work with the owners of these buildings to bring them back into a use that’s profitable.”

Councillor Glen Miller, the leader of the Conservative group on the Council, said: “It is unfortunate that even at the best of times there will be empty business properties, but clearly in light of the current economic climate things are worse than normally the case.

“We must all hope and do whatever we can to help the district and the wider country out of the recession and back into growth. To this end the Conservative group will support the City Centre Growth Zone and any initiatives which have a realistic prospect of assisting in the achievement of this aim.”

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrats, added: “What we need is a proper approach to managing what is the decline of some of these commercial properties.”

She said a number of smaller commercial properties began life as homes, and that a “taxation lever” needed to be found that would encourage property owners to convert them back again.

Val Summerscales, of Bradford Chamber of Trade, said one issue was commercial properties not being fit for purpose, which left businesses looking for modern or purpose-built premises instead.

Comments (24)

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7:29am Thu 6 Dec 12

Blotto says...

Hark! Whats that noise? Oh! Its the sound of lots of Pennies Dropping!!
Hark! Whats that noise? Oh! Its the sound of lots of Pennies Dropping!! Blotto
  • Score: 0

8:17am Thu 6 Dec 12

Thee Voice of Reason says...

This isn't news its common knowledge, it might be news to the T&A and the City Hall after all they keep telling us what a great job is being done but most of us see right through the propaganda.
This isn't news its common knowledge, it might be news to the T&A and the City Hall after all they keep telling us what a great job is being done but most of us see right through the propaganda. Thee Voice of Reason
  • Score: 0

8:35am Thu 6 Dec 12

SinnerSaint says...

Why do we never hear of any plans or strategies to resolve these issues? This pirate earringed imbecile just talks a lot of nonsense.
Why do we never hear of any plans or strategies to resolve these issues? This pirate earringed imbecile just talks a lot of nonsense. SinnerSaint
  • Score: 0

9:01am Thu 6 Dec 12

Mike Strutter says...

Rates are still payable on empty properties except for a 3/6 month relief so I'm not sure this is news.
Rates are still payable on empty properties except for a 3/6 month relief so I'm not sure this is news. Mike Strutter
  • Score: 0

9:12am Thu 6 Dec 12

Free advisor says...

why dont the council cut the rates so u get investment in bradford instead of leaving the rates high and emty buildings, some investment is better then no investment.
people sat in offices need to relax the rates be more felexiable.
why dont the council cut the rates so u get investment in bradford instead of leaving the rates high and emty buildings, some investment is better then no investment. people sat in offices need to relax the rates be more felexiable. Free advisor
  • Score: 0

9:16am Thu 6 Dec 12

thatsnotmyname says...

If the council checked some of these properties they would find some are actually being used and are not empty.
If the council checked some of these properties they would find some are actually being used and are not empty. thatsnotmyname
  • Score: 0

9:46am Thu 6 Dec 12

Thee Voice of Reason says...

Are the tradex bazaar paying rates?
Would be interesting to know seeing as though the council appear to be trying to shut them down but I wonder how hard they are trying if they are getting rates from them.
Are the tradex bazaar paying rates? Would be interesting to know seeing as though the council appear to be trying to shut them down but I wonder how hard they are trying if they are getting rates from them. Thee Voice of Reason
  • Score: 0

10:30am Thu 6 Dec 12

Sally Way says...

thatsnotmyname wrote:
If the council checked some of these properties they would find some are actually being used and are not empty.
I agree lot of these big buildings are kept for storage.

So you don't see people going in and out often but inside they are full of goods.

Council love adding £50 court charges if your council tax is late. It's normally late because you don't have the money. Adding an extra £50 helps.
[quote][p][bold]thatsnotmyname[/bold] wrote: If the council checked some of these properties they would find some are actually being used and are not empty.[/p][/quote]I agree lot of these big buildings are kept for storage. So you don't see people going in and out often but inside they are full of goods. Council love adding £50 court charges if your council tax is late. It's normally late because you don't have the money. Adding an extra £50 helps. Sally Way
  • Score: 0

11:28am Thu 6 Dec 12

ctm says...

A few more bus lane cameras would soon make up the shortfall :-)
A few more bus lane cameras would soon make up the shortfall :-) ctm
  • Score: 0

11:47am Thu 6 Dec 12

Clowny says...

Free advisor wrote:
why dont the council cut the rates so u get investment in bradford instead of leaving the rates high and emty buildings, some investment is better then no investment.
people sat in offices need to relax the rates be more felexiable.
Why is the T & A so often just a propaganda machine for the council, this story is doing what the T & A did with residential empty property, misleading the issue and trying to soften up opinion ahead of undoubted changes in council rules that will hurt the local economy.

Businesses aren’t left empty for the fun of it, the discount businesses get is only for a mere 3 months (6 months for industrial property), which usually isn’t even enough time to find a new business to take over a lease. Just look at the city centre, there are businesses that have been empty for 5+ years all paying 100% business rates.

Trying to victimise legitimate business will only damage Bradford’s viability for future economic recovery.

http://www.bradford.
gov.uk/bmdc/business
_and_industry/busine
ss_rates/who_is_resp
onsible_for_paying_b
usiness_rates
100% rates are paid throughout the all but dead city centre, if anyone is losing out here it’s businesses and investors, not the council.

If anything rates should be lowered to attract in business so that more shops and offices are built (which in turn pay 100% rates) which over time will result in more money being collected. If moves are made to squeeze every last penny out of empty buildings, all that will happen is more will mysteriously burn down which will result in less rates being paid, plus potential investors will have even more reason not to invest in Bradford.
[quote][p][bold]Free advisor[/bold] wrote: why dont the council cut the rates so u get investment in bradford instead of leaving the rates high and emty buildings, some investment is better then no investment. people sat in offices need to relax the rates be more felexiable.[/p][/quote]Why is the T & A so often just a propaganda machine for the council, this story is doing what the T & A did with residential empty property, misleading the issue and trying to soften up opinion ahead of undoubted changes in council rules that will hurt the local economy. Businesses aren’t left empty for the fun of it, the discount businesses get is only for a mere 3 months (6 months for industrial property), which usually isn’t even enough time to find a new business to take over a lease. Just look at the city centre, there are businesses that have been empty for 5+ years all paying 100% business rates. Trying to victimise legitimate business will only damage Bradford’s viability for future economic recovery. http://www.bradford. gov.uk/bmdc/business _and_industry/busine ss_rates/who_is_resp onsible_for_paying_b usiness_rates 100% rates are paid throughout the all but dead city centre, if anyone is losing out here it’s businesses and investors, not the council. If anything rates should be lowered to attract in business so that more shops and offices are built (which in turn pay 100% rates) which over time will result in more money being collected. If moves are made to squeeze every last penny out of empty buildings, all that will happen is more will mysteriously burn down which will result in less rates being paid, plus potential investors will have even more reason not to invest in Bradford. Clowny
  • Score: 0

11:57am Thu 6 Dec 12

yorkshiredude says...

Business rates are a crock and it’s not something unique to Bradford – a national problem that needs addressing ASAP!
Business rates are a crock and it’s not something unique to Bradford – a national problem that needs addressing ASAP! yorkshiredude
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Clowny says...

The way this article reads makes me wonder if it’s actually just plain wrong. I think the T & A have mistakenly assumed that all empty business properties do not pay rates when they pay 100%, they pay the same as a fully occupied business.
The way this article reads makes me wonder if it’s actually just plain wrong. I think the T & A have mistakenly assumed that all empty business properties do not pay rates when they pay 100%, they pay the same as a fully occupied business. Clowny
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Thu 6 Dec 12

BaildonGuy says...

Clowny wrote:
The way this article reads makes me wonder if it’s actually just plain wrong. I think the T & A have mistakenly assumed that all empty business properties do not pay rates when they pay 100%, they pay the same as a fully occupied business.
Agreed but the main issue is not the tax. If there are so many empty buildings why does the Council insist on building on green fields. In many cases the people moving onto the green fields are leaving empty properties behind to increase the dereliction.

Can it be that central Bradfird is just a really bad place to do business? The Council needs to get its act together and start improving Bradford.
[quote][p][bold]Clowny[/bold] wrote: The way this article reads makes me wonder if it’s actually just plain wrong. I think the T & A have mistakenly assumed that all empty business properties do not pay rates when they pay 100%, they pay the same as a fully occupied business.[/p][/quote]Agreed but the main issue is not the tax. If there are so many empty buildings why does the Council insist on building on green fields. In many cases the people moving onto the green fields are leaving empty properties behind to increase the dereliction. Can it be that central Bradfird is just a really bad place to do business? The Council needs to get its act together and start improving Bradford. BaildonGuy
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Clowny says...

BaildonGuy wrote:
Clowny wrote:
The way this article reads makes me wonder if it’s actually just plain wrong. I think the T & A have mistakenly assumed that all empty business properties do not pay rates when they pay 100%, they pay the same as a fully occupied business.
Agreed but the main issue is not the tax. If there are so many empty buildings why does the Council insist on building on green fields. In many cases the people moving onto the green fields are leaving empty properties behind to increase the dereliction.

Can it be that central Bradfird is just a really bad place to do business? The Council needs to get its act together and start improving Bradford.
Think about it, every house or office built, whether occupied or empty gets the council 100% rates or council tax.

It's in the interest of the council for building to happen, whether green field or not.
[quote][p][bold]BaildonGuy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Clowny[/bold] wrote: The way this article reads makes me wonder if it’s actually just plain wrong. I think the T & A have mistakenly assumed that all empty business properties do not pay rates when they pay 100%, they pay the same as a fully occupied business.[/p][/quote]Agreed but the main issue is not the tax. If there are so many empty buildings why does the Council insist on building on green fields. In many cases the people moving onto the green fields are leaving empty properties behind to increase the dereliction. Can it be that central Bradfird is just a really bad place to do business? The Council needs to get its act together and start improving Bradford.[/p][/quote]Think about it, every house or office built, whether occupied or empty gets the council 100% rates or council tax. It's in the interest of the council for building to happen, whether green field or not. Clowny
  • Score: 0

3:07pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Grasser says...

What a crock report. Firstly its not 26.5m lost the rate multiplier is 45/45.8p in the pound.
Additionally as 365 empty properties are over 20,000rv then one can assume that a significant number of empty properties fall into the small business rate relief which can make properties exempt from rates in full (sub £6000rv, single property) and further discounts proportionalised up to 12k/18k.

Bradford is to make use of the top up system. TOO RIGHT.

Can anyone think of any shops that have actually been let in BCC in the last year or so (Charity shops dont count - as they dont pay rates)

When that top up system is exhausted, in years to come, what then ? More council cutbacks thats for sure
What a crock report. Firstly its not 26.5m lost the rate multiplier is 45/45.8p in the pound. Additionally as 365 empty properties are over 20,000rv then one can assume that a significant number of empty properties fall into the small business rate relief which can make properties exempt from rates in full (sub £6000rv, single property) and further discounts proportionalised up to 12k/18k. Bradford is to make use of the top up system. TOO RIGHT. Can anyone think of any shops that have actually been let in BCC in the last year or so (Charity shops dont count - as they dont pay rates) When that top up system is exhausted, in years to come, what then ? More council cutbacks thats for sure Grasser
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Michael Manus says...

yorkshiredude wrote:
Business rates are a crock and it’s not something unique to Bradford – a national problem that needs addressing ASAP!
The rates for businesses in Bradford seem to be higher than those in Calderdale and Kirklees. My brother-in-law has had premises for 7 years in Bradford and the rates are extortionate, he has been offered larger premises in Halifax for half of what Bradford are charging. With the increased developement of the Halifax town centre foot fall is certainly going to be a lot higher than Bradford has to offer at the moment.
[quote][p][bold]yorkshiredude[/bold] wrote: Business rates are a crock and it’s not something unique to Bradford – a national problem that needs addressing ASAP![/p][/quote]The rates for businesses in Bradford seem to be higher than those in Calderdale and Kirklees. My brother-in-law has had premises for 7 years in Bradford and the rates are extortionate, he has been offered larger premises in Halifax for half of what Bradford are charging. With the increased developement of the Halifax town centre foot fall is certainly going to be a lot higher than Bradford has to offer at the moment. Michael Manus
  • Score: 0

3:31pm Thu 6 Dec 12

porkfat says...

SinnerSaint wrote:
Why do we never hear of any plans or strategies to resolve these issues? This pirate earringed imbecile just talks a lot of nonsense.
How that guy ever expects anyone to take him seriously is beyond me he is an embarrassment to this once great city. Last one turn out the light.
[quote][p][bold]SinnerSaint[/bold] wrote: Why do we never hear of any plans or strategies to resolve these issues? This pirate earringed imbecile just talks a lot of nonsense.[/p][/quote]How that guy ever expects anyone to take him seriously is beyond me he is an embarrassment to this once great city. Last one turn out the light. porkfat
  • Score: 0

5:49pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Shelfrhino says...

They could kill two birds with one stone here.
All the leeches claiming dole and housing benefit could be housed together in one large warehouse in dormitory style accommodation thereby making a massive saving to the taxpayer and reducing the social housing waiting list.
It's a win/win from where I'm standing.
They could kill two birds with one stone here. All the leeches claiming dole and housing benefit could be housed together in one large warehouse in dormitory style accommodation thereby making a massive saving to the taxpayer and reducing the social housing waiting list. It's a win/win from where I'm standing. Shelfrhino
  • Score: 0

9:42pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Steve30d says...

Shelfrhino wrote:
They could kill two birds with one stone here.
All the leeches claiming dole and housing benefit could be housed together in one large warehouse in dormitory style accommodation thereby making a massive saving to the taxpayer and reducing the social housing waiting list.
It's a win/win from where I'm standing.
I think the victorians would call that a workhouse, but you'd probably find the cost for equivenent rations would make it uneconomical today.
[quote][p][bold]Shelfrhino[/bold] wrote: They could kill two birds with one stone here. All the leeches claiming dole and housing benefit could be housed together in one large warehouse in dormitory style accommodation thereby making a massive saving to the taxpayer and reducing the social housing waiting list. It's a win/win from where I'm standing.[/p][/quote]I think the victorians would call that a workhouse, but you'd probably find the cost for equivenent rations would make it uneconomical today. Steve30d
  • Score: 0

12:04am Fri 7 Dec 12

The obvious says...

If the council charged lower rates for the commercial units aka shops and factories; then more people/businesses would occupy them. Thats how simple this dilemma is. However the genia at the council can't figure that out. Now who voted for the respective councillors which run this cirus I mean council? All you from Bradford District are responsible for this mess; how? As you lot voted for em in the first place.
If the council charged lower rates for the commercial units aka shops and factories; then more people/businesses would occupy them. Thats how simple this dilemma is. However the genia at the council can't figure that out. Now who voted for the respective councillors which run this cirus I mean council? All you from Bradford District are responsible for this mess; how? As you lot voted for em in the first place. The obvious
  • Score: 0

12:42am Fri 7 Dec 12

bobbyo says...

Shelfrhino wrote:
They could kill two birds with one stone here. All the leeches claiming dole and housing benefit could be housed together in one large warehouse in dormitory style accommodation thereby making a massive saving to the taxpayer and reducing the social housing waiting list. It's a win/win from where I'm standing.
what a total to**er you are! god forbid you lose your employment through ill health,
[quote][p][bold]Shelfrhino[/bold] wrote: They could kill two birds with one stone here. All the leeches claiming dole and housing benefit could be housed together in one large warehouse in dormitory style accommodation thereby making a massive saving to the taxpayer and reducing the social housing waiting list. It's a win/win from where I'm standing.[/p][/quote]what a total to**er you are! god forbid you lose your employment through ill health, bobbyo
  • Score: 0

7:58am Fri 7 Dec 12

Z.Raja says...

There is nothing like Investors Friendly in the Town. Their businesses are not protected from illegal Stall Type of Bazaars/Markets. Planning Officials were enjoying the HOLIDAYS when the Tradex case was herd and the next hearing was given 26th April 2013. Mean a license to destroy the local businesses by that time at least. In the presence of the current council Management there is only one direction of Bradford. Economic Disaster.When the businesses are not protected by the council they do not have any right to demand General Rates from them. The fate of the empty properties owners is simple bankruptcy. It is just matter of time till they can afford to take punishment.
There is nothing like Investors Friendly in the Town. Their businesses are not protected from illegal Stall Type of Bazaars/Markets. Planning Officials were enjoying the HOLIDAYS when the Tradex case was herd and the next hearing was given 26th April 2013. Mean a license to destroy the local businesses by that time at least. In the presence of the current council Management there is only one direction of Bradford. Economic Disaster.When the businesses are not protected by the council they do not have any right to demand General Rates from them. The fate of the empty properties owners is simple bankruptcy. It is just matter of time till they can afford to take punishment. Z.Raja
  • Score: 0

9:03am Fri 7 Dec 12

allinittogether says...

The obvious wrote:
If the council charged lower rates for the commercial units aka shops and factories; then more people/businesses would occupy them. Thats how simple this dilemma is. However the genia at the council can't figure that out. Now who voted for the respective councillors which run this cirus I mean council? All you from Bradford District are responsible for this mess; how? As you lot voted for em in the first place.
Wouldn't the same apply to the owners/agents of the properties? If they reduced the rents more businesses would be encouraged to move or start up.
[quote][p][bold]The obvious[/bold] wrote: If the council charged lower rates for the commercial units aka shops and factories; then more people/businesses would occupy them. Thats how simple this dilemma is. However the genia at the council can't figure that out. Now who voted for the respective councillors which run this cirus I mean council? All you from Bradford District are responsible for this mess; how? As you lot voted for em in the first place.[/p][/quote]Wouldn't the same apply to the owners/agents of the properties? If they reduced the rents more businesses would be encouraged to move or start up. allinittogether
  • Score: 0

10:56pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Clowny says...

Many have already reduced the rents, that's why there needs to be further measures. If you look at the to let signs you'll even see "reduced" on some.

There's rent well below £10k per annum for some retail shops in Bradford, Market Street for certain, the rates on some shops are close to the cost of the rent!

There's now some fairly large commercial properties in the city centre selling for less than an apartments sold for, a few years since.
Many have already reduced the rents, that's why there needs to be further measures. If you look at the to let signs you'll even see "reduced" on some. There's rent well below £10k per annum for some retail shops in Bradford, Market Street for certain, the rates on some shops are close to the cost of the rent! There's now some fairly large commercial properties in the city centre selling for less than an apartments sold for, a few years since. Clowny
  • Score: 0

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