Retail News

Retail NI pushes for 12-month rates relief

Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Retail NI.

Reduced regional rates, renewal of the small business rates relief scheme and restoration of rural ATM rates relief are among policies in the Northern Ireland Executive’s 2020/21 Budget welcomed by Retail NI. However, the trade body is still seeking 12-month rates relief for businesses in Northern Ireland, on par with counterparts in GB.

Announcing the Budget today, Finance Minister Conor Murphy said a total of £912m has now been allocated to battle the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Retail NI has had extensive discussions with the Department of Finance on the need to restore the rural ATM rate relief scheme,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Retail NI. “We are pleased with the Minister’s decision to do just that given the difficulty our members have had with ATM robberies and transaction charges over the past two years.

“We also welcome the reduction in the regional rate and the decision to renew the small business rates relief scheme.

“However, the rates relief that is currently on offer in this budget is still far behind the rest of the UK. In GB, businesses are receiving 12 months’ rate relief to deal with the coronavirus crisis; Northern Ireland business are only receiving three months.

“Three months’ relief is not nearly enough to support businesses during or indeed after this crisis. If our economy is to stand any chance of surviving and indeed recovering from this crisis, then a lot more rate relief will be needed to support businesses from all sectors.”

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