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12 February 2019

Rate reliefs must form part of NI budget

FSB NI Policy Chair, Tina McKenzie, has written to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, urging her to ensure that vital rate reliefs form part of the next Northern Ireland Budget.

Commenting, Tina McKenzie said:

“In the absence of Assembly and Executive, to reduce unnecessary concern and uncertainty, it is vital that a Northern Ireland Budget is brought forward as soon as possible by the Secretary of State.

“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.

“As business costs rise across the board, 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 percent relief for our smallest businesses, must be protected. 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.”