Belfast Telegraph

Retailers' tax system only serves to 'hamper progress'

By Jamie Stinson

A body representing the retail sector has blasted local business rates as hampering investment and "not fit for purpose".

The call for a change to the property tax system from the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) came as the Treasury announced a review of the rates in England.

Next month the new business rates for the province's 73,000 non-domestic properties come into force after the first revaluation since 2001.

Aodhan Connolly, director of the NIRC, said that while rates revaluation provides some "certainty", the entire system requires change.

"Business rates have been proven time and time again to be not fit for purpose. The system is a complete disincentive for our members to invest here."

The NIRC is the trade body for high street retailers and supermarkets.

Mr Connolly said that while the NIRC may not have all the answers yet, but it a more fair solution must be sought.

"We want a fundamental change in business taxes. We want to start a conversation with the government and other sectors.

"A fairer, more flexible system is what we are looking for."

Belfast Telegraph