Rate reliefs must form part of NI budget

FSB policy chair Tina McKenzie
FSB policy chair Tina McKenzie

Vital rate reliefs must form part of the next Northern Ireland Budget a leading spokeswoman has claimed to prevent further damage to the economy.

Writing to Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, the FSB’s policy NI Policy Chair, Tina McKenzie uregd her to act in the absence of the Assembly and Executive to “reduce unnecessary concern and uncertainty” within the business community.

“While we recognise the policy-making restriction which she faces, it’s crucial that rate reliefs which have been agreed Executive policy continue, and that small businesses don’t fall victim to penny-pinching to plug other gaps that have arisen due to the political impasse,” Ms McKenzie said.

“As business costs rise and political and economic uncertainty continue to take their toll, it is vital that the Budget does not inflict further damage on the small business sector.

“The Small Business Rate Relief scheme, which offers up to 50% relief, must be protected,” she added.

“Similarly, Industrial De-rating, a relief for the manufacturing sector, should also continue and if there is to be any increase in the non-domestic regional rate it must be limited to the rate of inflation.

“With SMEs in Northern Ireland employing more people than all larger businesses and the entire public sector combined, it is vital that government does all it can to help them survive and thrive.”