CEO Comments On Decision To Retain Small Business Rates Relief Scheme

CEO Comments On Decision To Retain Small Business Rates Relief Scheme

13 March 2018

Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster, commented on the March 8 decision to retain the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme and the 1.5 percent rise in business rates.

"Following our meetings with the Northern Ireland office, where we made a strong case for the retention and refocusing of the small business rates relief, I am pleased that the Secretary of State was able to announce on Thursday that the scheme will be retained.

Small businesses are the backbone of the Northern Ireland economy and our members in Hospitality Ulster regularly tell us that their rates bills are a significant financial burden. An increase in rates bills for small business including pubs, cafes and restaurants can mean the difference between success and failure for those businesses and the difference between hiring new staff or letting staff go.

The hospitality sector is working for Northern Ireland. It contributes more than £1.1 billion annually to the local economy and supports more than 60,000 jobs. It is therefore essential that the sector is given all the support it can get, in order to keep growing.

We also note that business rates were increased by 1.5 percent. No increase is ever good, however the 1.5 percent rise is far less than the 10 percent which had been the aim of Treasury.

Hospitality Ulster argued against any such move as did Northern Ireland’s elected representatives, which is very welcome.

It is of course disappointing that these decisions were not taken in Northern Ireland and it would be far better if our local politicians were able to make these decisions at the Assembly."