17/07/2012

Small Business Rate Relief Reviewed

Northern Ireland's Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, has announced a review of the Small Business Rate Relief scheme in an attempt to see how well it is helping small Northern Irish firms and how much it costs.

Business owners are urged to respond and let Mr Wilson know whether help could be better targeted to them.

Mr Wilson said: "Around 8,200 small businesses (or over 10% of business premises) have benefited from a 20% discount on their rates since the expansion of the Small Business Rate Relief scheme in April. This additional support is a welcome assistance to many small businesses who have been adversely affected by the downturn and continue to struggle during these difficult economic times. In total around 24,000 businesses are now receiving help with their rates, with an average annual award of around £735."

The scheme was extended in April and will continue until 2015.

Mr Wilson said it was "too early at this point" to evaluate the scheme fully, but decision about what might replace it would be made in 2014.

Comments should be provided by Friday 5 October 2012 by email, fax or in writing to the following address:

Rating Policy Division,

Department of Finance and Personnel,

Longbridge House,

20-24 Waring Street,

Belfast,

BT1 2EB

Email: ratingpolicy.cfg@dfpni.cov.uk

Fax: 028 9034 7435

(NE)

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