As the only trade association in the UK representing the flexible space industry, the BCA has a unique role to play in lobbying government on the critical issues affecting its members.
This is a profoundly important responsibility and one that is taken very seriously. Influencing government on pivotal business issues can ultimately affect the bottom line of all those in our industry, and can mean the difference between prosperity and failure. It can also dictate the shape and scale of future development.
Among the issues on which the BCA’s lobbying efforts have paid dividends is that of empty property rates. At a second House of Commons reception autumn 2009, the BCA urged cross-party MPs to raise the £15,000 rateable value threshold on empty property rates from £15,000 to £18,000 and to extend empty property rates for another year until 2011.
The reception was the climax of an intensive lobbying campaign by the BCA since empty rates legislation was introduced in 2008, which resulted in the Chancellor adopting both measures in his pre-Budget statement November 2009.
Next up on the political agenda is the BCA’s proposed Flexible Space Voucher Scheme. Under this proposal, small and medium-sized enterprises would be entitled to receive BCA-accredited office or workspace accommodation for an initial one-year period at no cost, and at a reduced rate for a further two years. The vouchers would be funded either through profit share management agreements between local authorities and private sector operators or from the sale of local authority run business centres.
The BCA believes the voucher scheme could ultimately encourage more private sector development of business centres to support the UK’s growing number of SMEs, creating greater employment and regeneration opportunities.