‘Rates system should encourage business, not cripple it’ – Murphy

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Monday, March 14th, 2016
Business, Community
Newry MLA Conor Murphy has vowed to “keep up the fight for a rates system that promotes and encourages business, not one that cripples it.”
The Business Rates meeting panel, Sinn Féin Newry MLA Conor Murphy, Marie Ward of Newry Mourne and Down Council, Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of NIIRTA and Brian McClure, Head of the Rating Policy Division of the Department of Finance and Personnel

The Business Rates meeting panel, Sinn Féin Newry MLA Conor Murphy, Marie Ward of Newry Mourne and Down Council, Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of NIIRTA and Brian McClure, Head of the Rating Policy Division of the Department of Finance and Personnel

The Sinn Féin MLA was speaking at a Q&A session he organised for businesses in the city so they could speak directly to those responsible for setting business rates policy. Marie Ward of Newry Mourne and Down Council, Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of NIIRTA and Brian McClure, Head of the Rating Policy Division of the Department of Finance and Personnel were on hand to answer questions from concerned local entrepreneurs about upcoming changes to the rates system. Issues such as exemptions for charities and various rates relief programmes were discussed while suggestions were made about how rating policy could be altered to help and encourage start up businesses and investment. Business owners from across the city and beyond quizzed the panel for over an hour on the rates system and were assured that their concerns and suggestions would be taken on board when setting new rating policies. Conor Murphy said he and his party would continue to stand by home-grown SMEs in the Assembly. “Rates should not just be another charge levied on already struggling small and family run businesses,” he said. “Rates should be an instrument of social and economic change. They should be used to stimulate growth in town centres; they should be reinvested back into areas to grow the economy, not be a detriment to it.
Article continues below:
TCH Feb 2016 advert“That is why Sinn Féin made a detailed 18 point submission to the consultation, calling for, amongst other things, better targeting for the £200m worth of exemptions available and rates revaluations every three years, leading to manageable, incremental changes rather than these huge jumps seen ever 10 or 12 years. Murphy added, “In the meantime we will continue to stand by businesses who feel that rates hikes introduced last year were excessive. We would still urge people who feel their increases were wrong to make formal challenges to Land and Property.”

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