Murphy announces further £213m business rates support
Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has announced an unprecedented £213m rates support package for businesses.
This builds on the £100m scheme announced by the Finance Minister in March which gave all businesses a three month rates holiday.
The new scheme, developed with independent analysis from the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre, will see the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic pay no rates for the full financial year up until 31 March 2021.
Those sectors are:
- hospitality, tourism and leisure
- retail (excluding certain supermarkets and off-licences)
- Belfast City, Belfast International and City of Derry Airports.
The rates support packages will also see all businesses received a one-month extension of the rates holiday up to 31 July 2020.
Minister Murphy said: “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the economy. The initial rates support package helped businesses with immediate cash-flow difficulties during the lockdown.
“As the Executive begins to ease the restrictions which have been necessary to save lives, I am pleased to announce this new scheme which importantly provides all businesses with an extended rates holiday for July.
“Further support is then targeted at the sectors which will be in greatest need in the months ahead. This includes retail, hospitality, tourism, leisure, childcare and airports.
“This rates package, which is aligned with the Executive’s pathway to recovery, brings the total support for businesses from rates relief and grants to almost £700m.”
Further information on rates etc:
- The £213m rates support package includes the following:
- 100% Relief for Hospitality, Tourism, Leisure and Retail properties (with the exception of retail food stores over 300m² and off-licences) to 31 March 2021 – £175m
- Continue existing 100% business rates holiday for all properties for a further 1 month to end of July (excluding public sector and utilities) – £34.5m
- 100% rates relief for Belfast International, Belfast City & City of Derry until 31 March 2021 – £2.2m
- Provide 100% rates relief for Childcare Establishments until 31 March 2021 – £1.4m.
- A £100m rates package for businesses was announced on 17 March – https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/news/covid-19-ps100m-emergency-rates-package-businesses.
- Policy advice for Minister – Rates Relief Information Paper – https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/node/44363
Retail NI Response To Minister’s Murphy’s Announcement.
Commenting on today’s announcement from the Finance Minister on further rate relief for businesses, Retail NI Chief Executive, Glyn Roberts said: “This is a welcome announcement and we are pleased that Minister Murphy has listened to our representations that a targeted approach to rate relief is needed to support small independent retailers during this crisis.
“While not all of our members will benefit from the twelve months rates holiday, it will be welcome news for many small to medium sized Retail NI members who have faced immense difficulties over the past few months.
“Getting the rates holiday over the line is absolutely crucial in helping independent retail businesses begin to plan for recovery and for the wider reopening of the economy.”
Rates relief package a ‘positive intervention’ Says FSB
Responding to the announcement by the Finance Minister Conor Murphy of a comprehensive rates relief package for businesses, FSB NI Head of External Affairs, Roger Pollen has welcomed the intervention, which will bring some comfort to businesses.
Roger Pollen said: “The economic impact from coronavirus and the associated business closures has been severe, with many seeing their incomes dry up completely.
“It would not only have been the height of unfairness if these businesses were to continue to be charged rates while they remained mandated by government to close, but it would also risk doing further and deeper damage to the economy. This is therefore a positive and welcome intervention which will bring some comfort to businesses.
“FSB has consistently made the case that support should focus on the wide range of businesses particularly impacted in the current crisis, with additional assistance for those sectors most heavily impacted, which should not pay rates for the entire financial year. We are encouraged that the Minister has responded to that call today.
“We recognise that public resources can only go so far but, as we see some lockdown measures being eased gradually, it is vital that businesses are given space and financial forbearance so they can rebuild the economy before they are faced with rates bills that are unrelated to profitability.
“The economic conditions in the weeks and months ahead must enable recovery, to ensure small businesses can continue employing people and subsequently avoid a deep and harmful recession. These are welcome measures that are consistent with that objective.”