Small business group the FSB has called on the Executive to boost business confidence by extending the current Small Business Rates Relief through to 2018, creating time for details of the new non-domestic rates to be debated.
Following Finance Minister Mairtin Ó Muilleoir’s announcement on a radical shake-up of the rates system, which included proposals to scrap business rates relief for over 13,000 small businesses, FSB NI policy chairman Wilfred Mitchell said there were critical issued to be discussed.
“The Minister has proposed removing rates relief from even the very smallest businesses, meaning Northern Ireland will be at a significant disadvantage to businesses in every other part of the UK.”
The FSB, he said, was willing to help devise a better system that could help boost the economy but, until then an extension for a further year was required.
“Small businesses are the largest employers in Northern Ireland and the proposed actions of removing the current rates relief would impinge harshly on those least able to pay, he added.
“The Executive must boost business confidence in these very uncertain times by extending the Small Business Rates Relief scheme until March 2018 and ensure that any replacement scheme is open to all small businesses.”