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Northern Ireland business rates shake-up aims to help retail and hospitality sectors

By John Mulgrew

A major shake-up in business and domestic rates across Northern Ireland will include helping retailers and the hospitality sector, new regeneration pilot schemes and the scrapping of a ratings cap on homes here, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir is expected to brief the Assembly this morning on a package of measures aimed at rebalancing the way businesses and home-owners pay rates here.

It's understood a revamping of the small business rates relief system will aim to lessen the financial burden on small retailers and the hospitality sector.

The minister is also due to reveal a new regeneration pilot scheme, which will help attract businesses to areas or towns which are not being fully utilised - with rates relief and other incentives.

The package of measures aims to modernise and rebalance the business rates system in Northern Ireland.

Business groups have reiterated calls to revamp rates here, which they say are a "significant financial burden on businesses".

Manufacturers are also expected to welcome news that industrial de-rating will continue, saving more than 4,000 companies tens of millions each year.

And, as for home-owners, a £400,000 cap on the rateable value of properties is set to be scrapped.

That means that those owning high-value properties are likely to pay more in rates, following the changes.

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