Business rates refund failures

Independent retailers in Northern Ireland have welcomed the announcement that non-domestic rates are to be frozen for the next financial year and that businesses will still receive a three-month rates holiday.

The NFRN’s Northern Ireland president, Coleraine store owner Joe Archibald, said: “The holiday and freeze on rates is much needed because there is still a lot of recovery to be done following the pandemic.

“There really needs to be a full review of business rates because they are scandalous in some cases, but any help we can get at the moment is to be welcomed.”

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Addressing MLAs at the Assembly, finance minister Conor Murphy updated on the Draft Budget and additional funding, he said: “I do intend to proceed to freeze both domestic and non-domestic regional rates next year, which will help with the rising costs faced by families and businesses. Unfortunately, I cannot extend this to the three years as previously intended.

“I will also progress with the £50 million rate relief package to support a rates holiday for businesses. This will provide a three-months rates holiday for retail, tourism, hospitality, leisure, childcare, newspapers and airports which are the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.”

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