Stephen Kelly calls on Derry and Strabane to freeze business rates

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Derry manufacturing lobbyist, Stephen Kelly, has pleaded with Derry City & Strabane District Council not to hike its business rates next February.

Mr. Kelly, who is Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI, in a joint letter with Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster, have written to the Mayor, Councillor John Boyle, and DC&SDC Chief Executive John Kelpie, and asked the Council not to increase business rates.

In a joint statement with Glyn Roberts of Retail NI and Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster, he stated: “As the Councils begin the process of setting the level of business rates, we urge them not to increase rates at all and strike a 0 per cent increase.

“The business rate poundage has risen three times faster compared to the rest of the UK. With our members experiencing huge uncertainty with Brexit, rising costs of running their business and slow economic growth, the last thing they need is to pay more business rates.

“Councils should not add to the burden of our members and we urge them to consider our call when they begin the process of setting their non-domestic rates.”

The trio said DC&SDC was an important driver of enterprise and said rates reform was vital for small businesses.

“The Budget gave independent retailers and hospitality businesses in England a third off their rate bills. Their counterparts in Northern Ireland got nothing”

“Rates reform is absolutely critical to the future of the economy. In our joint New Deal document we call for a radical reduction in business rates to support our town and city centres and to ensure small business owners can reinvest more of their own money into growing their business and employing more staff.”