Responding to the announcement by the Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, of a comprehensive rates relief package for businesses, FSB NI Head of External Affairs, Roger Pollen has welcomed the intervention, which will bring some comfort to businesses.
Commenting, Roger Pollen said:
“The economic impact from coronavirus and the associated business closures has been severe, with many seeing their incomes dry up completely.
“It would not only have been the height of unfairness if these businesses were to continue to be charged rates while they remained mandated by government to close, but it would also risk doing further and deeper damage to the economy. This is therefore a positive and welcome intervention which will bring some comfort to businesses.
“FSB has consistently made the case that support should focus on the wide range of businesses particularly impacted in the current crisis, with additional assistance for those sectors most heavily impacted, which should not pay rates for the entire financial year. We are encouraged that the Minister has responded to that call today.
“We recognise that public resources can only go so far but, as we see some lockdown measures being eased gradually, it is vital that businesses are given space and financial forbearance so they can rebuild the economy before they are faced with rates bills that are unrelated to profitability.
“The economic conditions in the weeks and months ahead must enable recovery, to ensure small businesses can continue employing people and subsequently avoid a deep and harmful recession. These are welcome measures that are consistent with that objective.”