11 Aug 2011
The British Property Federation has welcomed a package of measures unveiled by Government to help businesses recover from four days of rioting and looting across the UK.
The measures announced today included £30m funding to repair high streets, an extra 28 days for businesses to claim for damages they have suffered – even if uninsured, an exemption from business rate liability for the worst hit properties and a fast track planning regime to bring these buildings back into use.
Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “These measures are extremely welcome and will give businesses hope that in affected areas life can quickly return to normal.
“Landlords will play their part in helping their communities to recover, and the extra time they now have to make insurance claims will give them valuable breathing space as they work with tenants to take stock of the damage and disruption that has been caused.
“If, as it appears, the removal of rates liability for substantially damaged buildings is also to be given to empty properties that have been rendered uninhabitable then this is also extremely positive.”
The BPF expressed particular concern at the impact the riots had on small and medium sized firms, which often form the economic backbone of local communities, but warned against scaremongering over the impact the violence may have on the wider property industry or its ability to generate investment in UK towns and cities.
Liz Peace said: “Any damage to property is of course appalling, but what has been truly heartbreaking is to see the carnage that has been inflicted upon small, family-run shops and businesses. These enterprises are often the lifeblood of their communities and have a vital role to play in maintaining the economic health of high streets across the UK.
“However, and as disturbing as recent events have been, it is important not to overstate their impact on the property industry or the consequences for investors. Contrary to the somewhat apocalyptic voices from some quarters, the sort of assets that attract large-scale and overseas investment in commercial property are definitely still standing and are largely unaffected.
“Moreover, while it is still early days, we would very much hope that the property industry’s ability and appetite for delivering much-needed and sustainable development in UK towns and cities will remain strong.”