Rates Reform Bigger Priority Than Corporation Tax

Rates Reform Bigger Priority Than Corporation Tax

12 October 2016

In a joint presentation to the Assembly Finance Committee today, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) and Hospitality Ulster outlined to MLAs their joint plan for a reformed and targeted Rate Relief Scheme for independent retailers and hospitality businesses.


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


“While we support the devolution of Corporation Tax, radically reforming business rates is a much higher priority for our members. The Executive needs to show that it gives as much priority to supporting our sectors as it does to attracting Foreign Direct Investment”


“Both our 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’ bills are a significant financial burden on their businesses, restricting growth and on occasions forcing them to close.”


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


“We also want to see a more accessible Rates Hardship Fund so that businesses who are victims of flooding or face significant trade disruption due to major road works or public realm upgrades are able to make a claim.”


Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster added:


“We also need the NI Assembly to have a serious look at a reduction in the non-domestic rates for the hospitality sector in order to help offset the higher rate of VAT on food and accommodation here in Northern Ireland.”