Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) chair Ruth Sloan calls on election candidates to commit to rates relief for Derry pubs

CAMRA chair Ruth Sloan wants rates relief for pubs.
CAMRA chair Ruth Sloan wants rates relief for pubs.

Candidates in the general election have been urged to extend business rate relief to pubs in Derry.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is calling on MPs to reduce the business rates bill paid by local pubs.

Ruth Sloan, the chair of CAMRA in the North, said measures have already been taken in England, Scotland and Wales to ensure rising rates don’t result in further pub closures.

She said public houses are important social hubs in many communities but have been closing down at an alarming rate across the North.

The Department of Finance is currently holding a public consultation on how best to reform the business rates system when the Assembly is restored.

Chair of CAMRA NI Ruth Sloan said: “It is clear that the rising cost of business rates, coupled with other rising costs and outdated licensing laws, are contributing to pub closures and people choosing to leave the industry, which has an impact on consumer choice for locals and visitors alike.

“Pubs are at the heart of local communities across Northern Ireland, acting as important social hubs, helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation as well as being key to the tourism industry. It is vital that politicians do everything they can to stem pub closures and keep them alive and thriving - including reducing the burden of Business Rates.

“Whilst pubs in Great Britain are receiving more help with rates, it isn’t fair that costs continue to rise for pubs in Northern Ireland. That’s why CAMRA wants this Budget legislation being passed at Westminster to include reductions in rates for pubs until the Assembly is restored and can take decisions about how best to reform business rates here to make them fairer for pubs.”