Claire Sugden, Independent Assembly Candidate for East Londonderry has welcomed the review of the small business rate relief scheme.
Miss Sugden said : “I welcome a review of the small business rates relief scheme.
The previous scheme was poorly targeted and there are those who did not benefit from it as they could have done.
Small businesses in Coleraine and Limavady have faced challenging economic conditions in recent times. This has been exacerbated by urban rates. I hope that the Department’s focus on town centres will address the barrier for businesses which has been produced by chronically high rates.
However, I am also mindful that outside of urban centres there are rural enterprises which are as important within local communities. They must not be overlooked.
I am particularly keen to ensure that business start-ups can access rates relief. Recently I raised this with the Minister and suggested the deferment of their rates payments to help them get on their feet. This had not been suggested to the Department before. They need to start thinking outside of the box to give local small businesses the support they need.
The Department must liaise closely with businesses to improve the current rates relief scheme. It must provide the support that they say they want local businesses to have and help small businesses make our local economy thrive again.”