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Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster Meet Finance Secretary on Rates and Budget

A delegation from Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster had a positive meeting with Department of Finance Permanent Secretary Sue Gray this morning to discuss Business Rates Reform, the Future High Streets Fund and the Northern Ireland Executive Departmental Budget.

Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster Chief Executives, Glyn Roberts and Colin Neill said:

“We left the Permanent Secretary and her officials in no doubt as to how bad the situation is in regard to our broken and antiquated system of business rates in Northern Ireland”

“Independent retailers and hospitality businesses in Northern Ireland are paying the highest business rates in the UK and have little in the way of rate relief schemes which our mainland counterparts enjoy”

“While the Assembly is down, this presents an opportunity for the Department of Finance to conduct a full and wide-ranging review of business rates to ensure that any future Finance Minister has a range of options to consider for radical change”

“The Chancellor in his recent Budget gave independent retailers and hospitality businesses in England a third off their rate bills. Our members in Northern Ireland got nothing”

“We also urged for the £20 million Future High Streets Fund, which was announced by the Chancellor to regenerate our high streets, to be included in any local budget for Northern Ireland. It is also vital the wider business community is fully consulted on the Northern Ireland departmental budget”

“Northern Ireland cannot be the only part of the UK which does benefit from the Future High Streets Fund, particularly given we have the highest levels of shop vacancies and dereliction”

 

Glyn Roberts 07515710517   Colin Neill 07738354963