11/12/2018

Help Paying Rates Offered For Businesses Affected By Primark Fire

Belfast business owners who have been adversely affected by the aftermath of the Primark blaze are being encouraged to apply for a subsidy to help pay their rates.

The fire broke out on 28 August and destroyed the historic Bank Buildings that housed the budget retailer, which has since reopened in Commonwealth House, but fourteen traders in the area were left unable to trade for almost three months due to a fire safety cordon.

Other retailers remained open for businesses but suffered a period of low sales due to a slump in footfall in Belfast city centre, which is expected to have dropped by 60%.

Land & Property Services (LPS) has contacted those affected with advice on how to gain help in paying their rates.
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The Hardship Rate Relief Scheme for non-domestic properties is intended to assist a business recover from a temporary crisis, financial or otherwise, as a result of exceptional circumstances.

Anyone who applies for the benefit should continue to pay their rates while LPS considers the application, and a refund will be made if it is successful.

Submissions for those businesses hoping to benefit from the scheme must be received by 31 March 2019 at the latest.

In a statement, LPS said: "As has already been made clear, business owners who are experiencing cash flow difficulties as a result of the Bank Buildings fire are also encouraged to contact LPS to discuss an extended payment arrangement. While this will not remove any rating liability, it may assist with cash flow difficulties at this time.

"Immediately following the incident, LPS established a dedicated team to handle these cases and has been proactively working closely with Belfast City Council, relevant agencies and government departments."



(JG/CM)

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