Rate relief is extended to assist local businesses
Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has announced the extension of the Empty Shops Rates Concession scheme and the rates exemption for stand-alone ATMs in rural areas.
Both concessions, which were due to end in March 2015, will now be extended until March 2016.
Simon Hamilton commented: “The Executive recognises the difficulties that our local businesses are facing and are committed to providing continued support to the business community as they emerge from difficult financial times.”
The Empty Shops Rates Concession was introduced to help reduce the number of empty units on our High Streets. The Minister said: “The scheme has proved a great success with around 375 new businesses availing of the 50% rates relief in their first year of trading since its introduction in 2012. We have led the way on this initiative which has now been introduced in all other parts of the United Kingdom.
“It has helped to tackle the high number of empty shops in our town centres and also helped to create much needed employment in this difficult economic climate. I would encourage anyone thinking of setting up a business in an empty retail unit to contact Land & Property Services and they will be happy to advise you about applying.”
The rates exemption for stand-alone ATMs in rural areas was introduced to encourage ATM provision in rural areas.
The Minister said: “Retaining ATMs in rural areas is particularly important at this time given the closure of bank branches. Since the scheme was introduced, we have seen an increase from 37 to over 75 ATMs in rural areas that now avail of the exemption. ATMs play an important role in the sustainability of rural economies. In fact, research shows that cash that is withdrawn locally is usually spent locally, providing a boost to local businesses.”