11 March 2021


Reacting to the news that the Finance Minister, Conor Murphy MLA, has brought forward a ‘rates holiday’ for certain sectors, including the hospitality sector, Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said today: 


“This is really welcome news at a time when businesses in the hospitality sector are dead on their feet. They have either been closed or required to operate under the most severe restrictions of any business sector for nearly a year. The reopening phase, as outlined last week, will take months to get everyone trading again and most likely with restrictions in place.”


“Hospitality businesses are burning up £1m a day to keep their businesses closed and will lose at least one-third of this year’s turnover before they open. Further financial assistance in the form of a top up grant and a refinancing grant to support reopening will be essential. The excessive debt burden that the industry now faces will mean it will be years until the industry returns to profitability.”


“We would encourage the Minister and the Executive to examine these unique set of circumstances which impact the hospitality sector and make special considerations so that they can reopen on a sustainable footing and can actually benefit from the rates holiday.”





  • Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has announced he is extending the rates holiday for a further 12 months for 29,000 businesses at a cost of £230 million.
  • Conor Murphy said: “This £230 million package will provide continued support for businesses dealing with the impacts of the pandemic. Recognising that the months ahead will continue to be hugely challenging, extending the 12 months rates holiday in the hardest hit sectors will protect jobs.
    This package goes well beyond what has been announced in England and demonstrates the Executive’s commitment to providing certainty and support for businesses. It also protects councils’ rate income as the Executive will cover the full cost of the rates holiday.
    Today’s announcement means the additional rates support provided to businesses over two years amounts to more than half a billion pounds. To further support businesses, the Executive has also chosen to freeze the regional rate for businesses for the second year in a row.”
  • Businesses in the following sectors will pay no rates in 2021-22 for the second year running:
    Airports (Belfast City, Belfast International and City of Derry)
    Hospitality, tourism and leisure
    Newspaper production
    Retail (excluding larger food stores and off-licences)





VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme: The VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme was launched on 23 February and allows businesses to:

  • Pay deferred VAT in equal instalments, interest free
  • Choose the number of instalments, from 2 to 11 (depending on when the business joins the scheme join)

The guidance (CLICK) has been updated so that, from today, businesses on the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme or the VAT Payment on Account Scheme, can now join this scheme.