Small Business Rate Relief Must Be Extended Says McCallister

John McCallister MLA, Independent Unionist for South Down, has called on the Executive to ensure that the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme is extended, as it emerged that over 1400 businesses benefitted from the scheme in the Down District Council area, saving businesses £2.7million.

dn_screenIn a statement Mr McCallister said: “1400 small businesses in the Down area have saved £2.7million since 2010. This has resulted in many small enterprises staying in business and investing in the future. It means our town and village centres, such as Newcastle, Castlewellan and Downpatrick have stayed vibrant where they might have become emptier, and it has kept local people in employment. “It is often said that SMEs make up the backbone of our economy, but they also have real social benefits – they are often the glue that keeps our towns and villages together. There are clear economic and social benefits to the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme. “The Minister for Finance and Personnel has consulted on extending the scheme which was originally paid for by the large retail levy. This levy is due to end in March 2015, but I believe there is a clear case for extending small business relief into the future. “There is a financial crisis at Stormont and many funding streams are being cut, however, this is an economically and socially productive scheme which should be prioritised. “An FSB survey carried out in June 2014 found that 47% of respondents used the rate relief to stay in business. Non domestic rates are often the highest cost element for a business, after wages and rents. In the current economic climate if businesses are asked to pay the full amount for non-domestic rates many will simply stop trading. This will have an impact on jobs, growth and social cohesion.”]]>