At the start of the two-day key Department of Finance Policy Lab at PRONI looking at reform of Business Rates in Northern Ireland, Trade NI has set out its proposals for change.
Trade NI which is the alliance of Retail NI, Manufacturing NI and Hospitality Ulster is taking part in the two-day meeting of business organisations and senior Civil Servants.
In a joint statement the three CEOs of Trade NI, Colin Neill, Stephen Kelly and Glyn Roberts said:
“We very much welcome this fundamental review of business rates and hope that it will deliver the step change needed to fix the current broken and antiquated system”
“Fixing Business Rates is Trade NI’s top priority in terms of the hospitality and retail sectors”
“We also want to see the targeted approach to small business rate relief, which was put forward by the last Finance Minister, Rethinking Rates as a vital starting point. These proposals include enhanced rates relief for the mainstays of the high street-independent retail and hospitality businesses”
“However, in terms of our manufacturing members, we have a very clear red line that the current industrial de-rating must not be changed. This is a key element in supporting thousands of jobs across the supply chain and is vital to the future of the local manufacturing sector.”
“In addition, we also need to ensure that any new system of business rates includes incentives for business growth. We will be outlining proposals for a Green Rate Relief Scheme to incentivise businesses to invest in green technology, enhancing the current Empty Premises Rate Relief scheme, a Capital Allowance scheme and making it easier to access the Rates Hardship scheme.”
“We hope this process will lead to a publication of an action plan to ensure that the next Finance Minister has options to make immediate changes”