FSB NI Policy Chair, Tina McKenzie, has written to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley MP, to outline the priorities of the small business sector for the next Budget. The Secretary of State will this week make a statement in the House of Commons on the 2018/19 Northern Ireland Budget.
Tina said: “At FSB we recognise the value of having a devolved, locally accountable Executive to make decisions for the people of Northern Ireland.
“However, given the present circumstances, and in order to provide certainty for the private sector and aid the delivery of public services, we are urging the Secretary of State to bring forward a Budget as a matter of urgency.
“We have written to the Secretary of the State to outline the priorities of the small business sector in the next Budget. Of the highest importance is the continuation of the Small Business Rate Relief scheme, which provides a modest but often vital reduction in a major cost to over 25,000 businesses in Northern Ireland. Removing this crucial relief would be the very definition of penny-wise and pound foolish, and would damage growth and risk jobs being lost, given that small businesses employ more people than all large businesses and the entire public sector combined.
“Similarly, we have made clear to the Secretary of State that Industrial De-rating, an important rates discount for the local manufacturing sector, should also be maintained and that an above inflation increase in the non-domestic Regional Rate should be ruled out.
“SMEs are the backbone of the Northern Ireland economy; supporting them helps create and sustain jobs and wealth in our society. We hope the Secretary of State recognises their importance when she brings forward the Budget, and does not increase the cost burden on small businesses which face persistent political and economic uncertainty.”