FINANCE MINISTER ANNOUNCES REGIONAL RATES FREEZE AND 50M SUPPORT PACKAGE
02 March 2022
Reacting to the announcement of a freeze on regional rates and £50m rates support package by the Finance Minister, Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster said:
“This announcement will bring some relief to many businesses who have been struggling with steep overheads and looming bills."
"The freeze of rates is very welcome as businesses focus on the rebuilding of the sector and prioritise investing in revitalising premises and the hospitality offer to ensure the sector returns to its former prime. We thank the Minister and his Department for recognising the need for a further freeze on rates payments as this new phase of recovery begins in earnest."
“We also welcome the news that the Minister intends to provide businesses with a £50 million rates support package in the 2022/23 financial year which will provide a three month rates holiday for hospitality businesses, as well as continuing the Small Business Rate Relief scheme. Any form of financial assistance at this time of uncertainty will relieve some of anxiety and stress for hospitality businesses owners who are only at the very early stages of recovery, and contending with the rising cost of energy, food supplies, alongside a labour shortage and huge overhead bills."
“When we met the Minister earlier this week, we highlighted the current financial challenges faced by the industry and made the case that further interventions may be needed as the year progresses. Both sides agreed to maintain regular engagement to monitor the developing situation and we are pleased to see this announcement today."
“This rates freeze, and other financial measures, is another step in the right direction. We now urge Executive Ministers to work with us on a dedicated hospitality strategy which will further support the industry get back on equal footing and ensure the renaissance of hospitality in full so it entirely returns to the £2bn economic driver it was pre-pandemic."