Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to explore the possibility of overhauling the non-domestic rating system in the North, with a view to relieving the pressures on those small businesses working on a very narrow profit margin.
“I have spoken to many in the businesses community in the city and they were all equally concerned and frustrated about their rates re-evaluation. They believe that there is the unfairness of the proposed re-evaluation.
“I am calling on the Minister to explore the possibility of an overhaul of the rating system with a view to relieving the pressures being felt by many SMEs.
“I believe that there is scope for the introduction of a form of progressive rating measures that are reflective of the ability to pay. This could be assessed on a number of criteria such as audited accounts, VAT returns or other methods of determining the profitability of businesses and organisations. Basing rates on the value of a property, particularly in a fluctuating market, is a regressive system in need of review.
There is a fear that these inequities will force the closure of many small businesses in Derry who work on very narrow profit margins.
I call on Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to review the present system for assessing rateable value and explore more equitable and progressive ways of calculating business rates.”