COUNCILS in Oxfordshire have levied more than £37m in business rates from empty shops and offices in the county over the last three years.

Information obtained by the TaxPayers’ Alliance shows owners of commercial properties are still shelling out millions.

It comes after exemptions from business rates were abolished in 2007, and the figures have prompted a call for their re-introduction.

In Oxford, the city council collected £2,830,604 in business rates on empty properties in 2010/11 and £2,404,885 in 2011/12.

West Oxfordshire was the authority which took the most, raking in more than £11m over three years including £8,777,297 in 2009/10.

Cherwell District Council has taken more than £9.5m over the last three years, while South Oxfordshire District Council has collected £4,818,274.

And Vale of White Horse District Council has brought in over £7m.

Business rates are collected by district councils on behalf of central government.