26/10/2011

Hamilton Reiterates Support For Small Businesses

Strangford DUP MLA Simon Hamilton has told an audience of business people in Lisburn that the Stormont Assembly must maintain its support for Northern Ireland's small business sector during these difficult times.

Speaking to the Lisburn Entrepreneurs Network, the Assembly Private Secretary to the Finance Minister said that supporting firms during the downturn through policies like the Small Business Rates Relief scheme was essential.

Commenting, Mr Hamilton said: "It may be clichéd to say it but no one should be in any doubt that small businesses are and will remain the backbone of the Northern Ireland economy. Through good times and bad, it is SMEs who are the mainstay of the local economy.

"Whilst we rightly remain focused on attracting new investors to these shores and fight for the power to reduce corporation tax so that we can grow our economy, we must never lose sight of the need to bolster the small business sector especially in these tough economic times.

"That's why interventions by the Executive like the Small Business Rates Relief scheme are so vital. To date, some 16,000 businesses have benefited to the tune of £6.5 million in relief each year. It is planned to extend the scheme by doubling its monetary value which will assist many more thousands of businesses. As small businesses struggle with the worst effects of the recession, I believe that it is only right and proper that the Executive shows its understanding of the needs of SMEs by pursuing this policy."

(CD/GK)

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