Hospitality Ulster and NIIRTA Launch Radical Rates Reform Scheme

Hospitality Ulster and NIIRTA Launch Radical Rates Reform Scheme

05 July 2016

Two of Northern Ireland’s leading business organisations, Hospitality Ulster and the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) have jointly published a plan to radically reform Business Rates.

NIIRTA and Hospitality Ulster presented their plans to reform the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme to Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA during a recent meeting.


The plan was also outlined to the Chair and Vice Chair of the Assembly Finance Committee, Emma Little Pengelly MLA and Claire Hanna MLA. Ulster Unionist and Alliance Finance Spokespersons Philip Smith MLA and Stephen Farry MLA have also been briefed on the two business groups’ plan.


Hospitality Ulster Chief Executive, Colin Neill and NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:


“Our two organisations are putting forward a radical alternative to the current system of Small Business Rate Relief which will be targeted to the independent retail and hospitality sectors. Both sectors make a huge contribution to our local economy, town centres and tourism.”


“Our members consistently tell us that their rates bill is a significant financial burden on their businesses, restricting growth and on occasions forcing them to close.”


"It is time for real change in business rates"


“Given that Northern Ireland has nearly twice the UK’s national average of levels of high street dereliction, we believe our rates plan will address this problem and begin to reverse this decline.”


“We propose a tiered system of reliefs ranging from:


  • 100% for those with an NAV under £10,000;
  • 50% for those with an NAV of between £10,000 and under £15,000 and;
  • 25% for those with an NAV of between £15,000 and under £25,000.” 


“The total cost of this relief would be £36m, which would mean that an additional £18m is needed above the £18m that it currently costs to provide Small Business Rate Relief.”


“In order to fund this additional £18m we recommend that the Vacant Property Relief after 3 months should be reduced from its current 50% to 15%.”


“Our scheme is fully costed and involves no new expenditure to the NI Executive Budget. It is value for the taxpayer, ensuring that the businesses who need help with their rates bill the most, receive it”


“Directly assisting our independent retail and hospitality sectors is in line with existing rates relief for Manufacturing, Agriculture and Charity shops. Not only will our rates relief scheme be beneficial for many existing independent retail and hospitality businesses, but potentially assist new start businesses in our sectors with a substantial rates reduction helping reduce their startup costs"


“There is no reason why this new Retail and Hospitality Rates Relief Scheme could not be in place by April 2017.”


More information on the scheme can be found here


CAPTION: Time for reform of small business rates relief says NIIRTA and Hospitality Ulster. Pictured are (L to R): Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA and Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA).