Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton has warmly welcomed the announcement by the Finance Minister Conor Murphy that all businesses in Northern Ireland will benefit from another month exemption from rates and a rates holiday for retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses for the remainder of the 2020/21 financial year.
Commenting, Simon Hamilton said, “This is great news for Belfast Chamber members and other businesses across Northern Ireland, many of whom have been forced to closed and cannot trade at all as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Customer-facing sectors like retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure have been hit really hard and it appears that they will face serious restrictions on their ability to trade for some time to come.
Belfast Chamber warmly welcomes the additional month of rate relief for all businesses and the extension of the rates holiday for retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses until the end of the current financial year. Targeted rates relief is something that Belfast Chamber has been calling for and has been pleased to work closely with the Department of Finance on. It is a recognition by the Executive of the pain that so many businesses are experiencing at present and will do for many more months. We have all seen the images of once-bustling shopping streets in Belfast city centre now empty streets. With so many of those businesses now not having to pay any rates for the rest of this year, it will give them a real boost during what are immensely difficult times.
What the Executive has done with rates relief for businesses is more generous than what has happened in Great Britain and is a great example of devolution responding to local needs and working to the benefit of many businesses who have been hurt by the impact of the coronavirus on our economy”.
Reacting to the news from the Finance Minister of further rates relief measures, Paul Clancy, Chief Executive of Londonderry Chamber said: “We are pleased to hear that the Finance Minister is extending rates relief for all businesses until the end of July and that he will extend targeted rates relief for hospitality, leisure, tourism and some retail businesses until the end of March 2021.
“These measures are absolutely necessary to protect as many local businesses as possible and it is only right that those businesses who are unable to trade, should not be required to pay rates at this time. These measures will no doubt give many businesses a fighting chance and help save more jobs.
“Additional rates relief measures for City of Derry Airport will also help us preserve vital connectivity between the north west and other regions.”