Boost for business as Murphy confirms £230m rates holiday
BUSINESS groups have heralded finance minister Conor Murphy's extension of a 12-month rates holiday for airports, retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism as “a common sense step”.
The minister confirmed that 29,000 businesses will benefit from the rates break, which will come at a cost of £230 million.
Mr Murphy said: “This package will provide continued support for businesses dealing with the impacts of the pandemic and will protect jobs in the hardest hit sectors.
“It goes well beyond what has been announced in England and demonstrates the Executive's commitment to providing certainty and support for businesses.”
It means the rates support provided to businesses over two years amounts to more than half a billion pounds.
The north's three airports (Belfast City, Belfast International and City of Derry) will benefit from the rates break, as will businesses in childcare; hospitality, tourism and leisure; manufacturing; newspaper production; and retail (excluding larger food stores and off-licences).
Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said: “This is really welcome at a time when our member businesses are dead on their feet, having either been closed or required to operate under the most severe restrictions for nearly a year.
“Hospitality businesses are burning up £1m a day to keep their businesses closed and will lose at least one-third of this year's turnover before they open, so further financial assistance in the form of a top-up grant and a refinancing grant to support reopening will be essential.”
Londonderry Chamber president Dawn McLaughlin said: “This is excellent news, a common sense step which will help relieve the burden on thousands of businesses as they look to rebuild and recover over the next year.
“It is also crucial in freeing up cash within businesses to meet their ongoing costs, although more support is needed to ensure many of these companies are still here when the economy fully reopens.”