Belfast Telegraph

Extension to rates relief scheme

A scheme which gives small businesses some relief from their rates may be extended, the finance minister has announced.

Simon Hamilton said the small business rate relief scheme was due to end in April 2015 after five years, but he would be evaluating it "in line with the Executive's Programme for Government".

The scheme offers discount of 20 to 50% on rates. The minister made the announcement at a meeting of traders in Lisburn yesterday, commenting: "The scheme provided much-needed support to businesses during a difficult economic period."

He also explained he would be introducing a 12-month extension of a form of relief for house builders, exempting them from rates on empty homes built during the property boom.

He said: "Although the housing market is showing signs of recovery, the imposition of rates on builders holding stocks of unsold houses will not help the recovery of the construction industry."

Belfast Telegraph