Neville Reyner CBE DL, the incoming President of the British Chambers of Commerce, has written a letter to the Government today asking for the newly introduced Empty Premises Tax to be scrapped.

 On the Treasury’s own estimates, the new tax will cost UK businesses £950 million this year and a further £900 million in 2009-10. The Government introduced the Empty Premises Tax in April, despite the fact firms expressed strong concerns about the negative impact it would have, especially in this tough economic climate. 

Mr Reyner, who is today announced President of the British Chambers of Commerce at its AGM, said: “Our members are telling us that these changes are hurting their businesses at the worst possible time. Companies are dependent upon the ready availability of factories, shops and warehouses to conduct their business and the new Empty Premises Tax is slowing down an already weak property market.

“There is a greater reluctance amongst developers to be involved in commercial property investment and regeneration schemes. There has been an increase in demolitions of usable buildings, and serious financial problems for businesses facing paying the new rates. 

“In the current worsening economic climate, these changes are compounding the current financial difficulties. This view is shared across the entire business community and I urge the Government to reverse this damaging tax.” 

About Neville Reyner CBE DLNeville Reyner is a Chartered Electrical Engineer and spent 15 years in a global electrical conglomerate leaving at the end of 1998 as UK Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Electric Europe responsible for a turnover of £250 million. He took Mitsubishi Semiconductor in the UK and Ireland from start-up to over £150 million in 15 years. He is Chairman of Exemplas Holdings Ltd, Chairman of Anglia Components Ltd, Chair of the Clydesdale Bank in St Albans and a Director of Pera International. 

In October 2005, Neville was appointed to the (DTI/BERR) UK Electronics Leadership Council (ELC) and the UK Photonics Leadership Group (PLG) in 2007. As well as the Chairman of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he was appointed in 2006 to the board of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), in May 2007 elected Deputy President of the BCC and in May 2008 elected President of the BCC. 

 In Hertfordshire he sat on the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Neville also chairs groundwork Hertfordshire a £3 million environmental charity. He is Chairman of the University of Hertfordshire, Business School Advisory Group, Chairman of the Industrial Advisory Group in the School of Electronic, Communication and Electrical Engineering and Corporate Advisor to the Vice Chancellor. He also holds the award of honorary Doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire and is a visiting Professor at the Business School.

 Neville has a BSc degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Leeds, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration MBA from Cranfield. He is a Fellow of the: Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET), Chartered Management Institute (FCMI), Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce (FRSA), Institute of Directors (FIOD) and is a Chartered Engineer (CEng). He was appointed CBE, in the 2001 New Year Honours, for services to business and appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire in 2003.