Urgent action is needed over business rates

The Northern Ireland Executive must act decisively and swiftly to address the issue of business rates the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) has claimed.

Following the announcement by the UK Government of a review of business rates in England set to report by Budget 2016, the retail group’s local director Aodhán Connolly, said similar action in the province was vital.

“The current system of business rates is not fit for purpose and acts as a drag on Northern Ireland economic growth.

“It acts as a disincentive to invest and unlike any other national tax it fails to flex with economic circumstances.

“That is why we have been calling for a comprehensive case for reform of business rates in Northern Ireland.

“Today’s announcement, whilst good news for ratepayers in England, does not apply to Northern Ireland.”

That he said should “concentrate minds” in the Northern Ireland Government, as it was no longer an option to say that fundamental reform is too difficult or complicated.

“Northern Ireland can choose to stand still but, with the promise of reform elsewhere in the UK, risks leaving businesses in Northern Ireland at a competitive disadvantage.”