Belfast Telegraph

Call for Chancellor George Osborne to reform system over business rates

The Chancellor George Osborne needs to address the issue of spiralling business rates in this Thursday's Autumn Statement, according to a business body.

The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce said the issue is preventing companies from growing and has called on the government to act.

"The Chancellor should therefore use the Autumn Statement to announce a root and branch reform of the entire system," Mark Nodder, President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce (NICC), said:

"We need a new framework that is more flexible, transparent and responsive to changes in the economic environment."

"Business rates are taxes used to help pay for local services and are charged on most non-domestic properties.

Mr Nodder said the Province needs to catch up with the rest of the UK.

"We appreciate the commercial rating measures that the Northern Ireland Executive has introduced in recent years to help business, particularly small businesses here. However, we have been left behind other parts of the UK in the introduction of some policy measures including Enterprise Zones which typically provide enhanced business rates relief.

"The Executive needs to move quickly to create a zone within Northern Ireland to stop local businesses losing out. We look forward to a more substantive announcement on a Northern Ireland Enterprise Zone before the end of this year."

Belfast Telegraph