EAST Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has appealed for rates relief to be extended to businesses within the events sector.
The north coast hosts a variety of indoor and outdoor events, particularly during the summer. The businesses that organise them – many of which are also locally run – are not eligible for rates relief under current rules.
After receiving direct appeals from businesses affected, Ms Sugden questioned the Minister of Finance on his plans for such relief and awaits his response in the Assembly this week (commencing September 8). This follows previous appeals from the independent MLA for greater support for all businesses that are struggling.
“Businesses running events have been subjected to prohibitive restrictions, both by the UK Government and the NI Executive in response to COVID-19,” Ms Sugden said.
“This has been done with a view to protecting public health, which must continue to be our priority. But the pressure that protracted closures put on these businesses – and others that have been forced to cease operating – means many will not survive without support.
“Rates relief has been offered to many businesses, but there are many that remain unsupported by the same government that told them to close. Through no fault of their own their income has evaporated overnight and they need help.”