Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has called for the revaluation of non-domestic rates to take place every 3 years. He was speaking after meeting with local businesses at The Braid in Ballymena about the Department of Finance and Personnel’s consultation on the future of non-domestic rates.
Mr McKay said
“The local economy in North Antrim is going through some huge changes with the closure of Michelin and Gallagher’s among other factors. Efforts are already underway to try and secure investment and create employment to offset the impact of this but the rates system also needs to be responsive to changes in the local economy.
“If, for example, these job losses as predicted result in less money being spent within North Antrim then businesses would be paying rates that are disproportionate to their turnover.
“Of course we hope that this will not be the case but it does demonstrate the need for regular rates revaluations. Sinn Féin wants to see regular revaluations, enshrined in legislation if necessary, to ensure that businesses are protected from sharp fluctuations in their NAV.
“Businesses in Ballycastle, especially bars and restaurants received huge increases in their rates. 56% of bars and restaurants with a full license saw an increase of over 50% in their NAV which is a huge leap in a single financial year.
“You also have a situation where the rating system receives trading information and accounts from only half of businesses. This creates a dis-jointed system and must be addressed through the review.
“There was a good engagement with local businesses at the meeting and there is clearly a lot of room for improvement. All businesses are seeking is a fair and transparent process when it comes to rates. We now need to see the Department put in place a system that is responsive to economic changes and that reviews valuations on a more regular basis.
“Non-domestic ratepayers pay a considerable amount in rates, this is the very least that they should be entitled to.”