Minister defends rates as pressure mounts on businesses

IN a recent discussion over business rates, Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has defended the rates review, and stated his determination to bring about the fairest possible rates, ensuring that the Executive would “support people in business.”
Despite this claim by Mr Murphy, business owners across the county may have their doubts given that the Land and Property Services (LPS) and the Department of Finance (DoF) previously promised to be “fair and effective” in the rebalance of rates, which then saw an increase of nearly 50% to some local businesses in Fermanagh.
The Herald had previously revealed the crippling effects felt by business owners, which left many “uncertain” over the future of their businesses and whether or not it would be “profitable” to continue under such constraints.
As a result of Reval2020 and the business rates review, some 60% of businesses will see an adjustment to their NAV (Net Annual Values), with business rates to raise over £650 million across the North for public services, reliefs and exemptions which currently exceed £235 million. Despite growing concern, Conor Murphy stated, “We need to grow the economy while at the same time raising the essential funds needed to support public services.”
He continued, “Reval2020 is not about raising more money. It is about taking account of changes in the property market. Some people will pay less, some will pay more and many will pay the same.
“If any business owner has concerns I would encourage them to engage with Land & Property Services as soon as possible and supply evidence that will help reassess their valuation.
“My Department undertook an extensive review of business rates last year – this provided very valuable feedback. I look forward to continued engagement with businesses on this to ensure we have a system which is fair and sustainable in the wider budgetary context and supports public services.”

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