31/10/2006

FSB advances financial proposals for NI

Business body, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has unveiled plans for a Northern Ireland finance package.

The FSB have called for the introduction of a Ten Year Rates Reinvestment Fund to offer every business in Northern Ireland a 50% rates reduction if they use the capital to employ more staff and expand their business.

FSB Policy Chairman Wilfred Mitchell said: "A firm foundation for the growth of our local economy and the basis of a Financial Package has to be built upon our indigenous small businesses which currently make 98% of all business in Northern Ireland.

"The FSB want to see these businesses expand, develop new products and markets and above all increase employment.

"A second crucial element for a Financial Package must be to attract more Foreign Direct Investment to Northern Ireland. Our proposals for a Rates Reinvestment Scheme will be beneficial to both developing indigenous businesses and FDI."

"The FSB recommends that a Rates Reinvestment Fund be implemented in the province for a ten year period which would offer qualifying businesses 50% rates relief.”

The FSB say that 50% rates relief over a ten year period would be conditional on savings being reinvested into businesses providing an incentive to expand or modernise to meet the economic challenges in the years ahead.

"With such a reduction in capital, businesses could reinvest the savings in employing more staff, investing in new equipment, marketing new products, expanding export opportunities or investing in Research and Development,” said Mr Mitchell.

The FSB is hoping to discuss the plan, which could lead to increased employment, with the Secretary of State and the local political parties.

Local political parties are due to meet the UK Chancellor Gordon Brown to discuss a financial package for Northern Ireland next week.

(SP/KMcA)

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