Foreign embassies owe over £1m in business rates and more than £105m in London congestion charges

Oliver Gill
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Protesters demonstrate outside the Sudan
Sudan's London embassy, the site of numerous protests, owes the UK government the most in business rates (Source: Getty)

Foreign embassies owe the UK government more than £1m in business rates taxes, parliament was told today.

In a written statement, foreign office minister Lord Ahmad said £1,049,999 due to be paid before the end of December 2016 was outstanding. This represents a rise of 16 per cent on 2015 figures.

Meanwhile, it was also revealed more than £105m is outstanding for London congestion charges by overseas diplomats. Top of the list was the US embassy, which owes £11.5m.

Officially, diplomatic representatives are exempt from paying all national, regional or municipal taxes for their buildings.

However, the government encourages them to pay some of their bill, usually equivalent to around six per cent of what any other business would pay.

Read more: Diplomats owe more than £300,000 in unpaid parking fines

The Sudan embassy owed the most, with £109,599 outstanding. Bangladesh's high commission and the Iranian embassy were in second and third spots, both also owing more than £100,000. Representatives from all three diplomatic missions were contacted for comment.

The Syrian embassy owes more than £50,000, but cannot be collecting owing to the country is "not currently represented" in the UK.

CVS Business Rent and Rates chief executive Mark Rigby said: "Offices across London have seen their business rates rise by 31 per cent and will undoubtedly be dismayed by today’s news.”

And in separate figures, during 2016 diplomatic missions and international organisations incurred total parking fines of £430,216 in London. Of these £327,962 has still yet to be paid. Sudan again topped the list for the most outstanding, owing £83,215.

Read more: Parking mad: London parking spaces sold for over £200,000

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