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.
News Image
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."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

02 July 2008
Rates System Rates Very Poorly: Audit Office
The NI Government is facing criticism as news of arrears of £130m in the rates system has emerged. The huge sum has built up because a new multi-million pound computer system is said to be "inadequate", the Northern Ireland Audit Office revealed. The auditors found the Rate Collection Agency's £10.
24 November 2011
Stormont's Big Store Levy Faces Opposition
Large retailer levies are not the way forward, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, (RICS).
15 October 2014
NI Businesses Face 'Perfect Storm' Of Rates - NIIRTA
Northern Ireland's Private Sector is a facing a "perfect storm" of challenges with Business Rates in 2015, according to the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA). The Association made the announcement in its evidence to the Assembly Finance and Personnel Committee this morning.
12 March 2014
Businesses Encouraged To Take Up Rates Relief Scheme
Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has encouraged Northern Ireland businesses to make use of the Empty Retail Premises Rate Relief Scheme, introduced to help revitalise local towns and cities. The Minister made the comments as he was paying a visit to Gillian’s Barber Shop in Newtownards, County Down, which has recently availed of the scheme.
06 September 2018
Primark Fire: Affected Businesses Not Liable For Rates From Date Of Fire
Businesses affected by the fire at Belfast's Primark store will not be liable for rates from the date of the fire, Land & Property Services (LPS) has announced. Immediately following the fire at the historic Bank Building's last week, Land & Property Services (LPS) established a team dedicated to handle these cases.