Wednesday 27 February 2019 02:36:46 PM

Business Groups Call For Drop In Regional Rate
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Retail NI And Hospitality Ulster Urge Secretary Of State To Reduce Regional Rate

Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster have both written to the Secretary to State for Northern Ireland urging her to reduce the Regional Business Rate and include the £20m Future High Street Fund when the NIO sets the Northern Ireland budget.

The Future High Streets Fund was announced by the Chancellor in his last Budget and provides Northern Ireland with £20m to regenerate town centre (after Barnett Consequential).

Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster Chief Executives Glyn Roberts and Colin Neill said: “Northern Ireland has the highest business rates in the UK and it is crippling our local retail and hospitality sectors, not to mention contributing to the dereliction of our town centres.

“Given the Secretary of State is setting the Northern Ireland budget and striking the Regional Rate, she should listen to the concerns of the business community and reduce the rate. Her colleague the Chancellor, has given English small businesses one third off their rate bills in the last budget and so we are asking the question – why should Northern Ireland be treated any differently?

“The Secretary of State also needs to ensure that Northern Ireland receives its fair share of the Future High Streets Fund, which is worth £20m. Northern Ireland has the highest shop vacancy rate in the UK and absolutely needs this vital funding.

“On both the Regional Rate and the Future High Streets Fund, the Secretary of State could take action to help address the huge uncertainty and challenges both our sectors are experiencing.”