19/11/2012

Local Businessman Benefits From Empty Premises Relief Scheme

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has congratulated a local businessman from Carrickfergus who is benefitting from the Empty Premises Rate Relief scheme.

Mr Colin Campbell has opened a scooter shop on West Street in Carrickfergus and will now benefit from a 50% discount on his rates for 12 months.

Mr Wilson said: "On 1 April 2012 an empty shops rate concession came into effect providing 50% relief, for a year long period, on occupation of long term empty retail premises. This relief was introduced as a result of concerns expressed by the local business community about the high number of empty shops in our town centres.

"I have visited a number of businesses in receipt of this relief in recent months and am pleased to see the impact it is having. The first year is an extremely difficult one for any new business and I am sure the 50% concession will be of great help to Mr Campbell. I wish him every success in his new venture."

The Minister used his visit to encourage other business ratepayers to consider applying for the Empty Premises Rate Relief scheme: "I would encourage anyone thinking of setting up a business in an empty retail unit to consider applying for this concession. The new business itself doesn’t have to be retail, it doesn’t have to be town centre and the premises don’t necessarily have to be a traditional shop. Just ask Land & Property Services and they will be happy to advise you about applying."

A number of other measures were introduced by the Executive in April to assist business ratepayers. These included expanding the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme and the introduction of a window display concession. Over 130 businesses in the Carrickfergus Borough Council area have benefitted from a 20% reduction on their rates as a result of the Small Business Rate Relief scheme expansion. In total 430 businesses have received assistance in the Carrickfergus Borough Council area with their rates through the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme.

(CD)

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