Review of Northern Ireland business rates system – Report released

Outlining his views on the way forward for business rates on 21 March 2016, Finance Minister Mervyn Storey signalled changes to come, following the recent review of the system. The main recommendations are that businesses be revalued every three years and that regional rates should increase no more than inflation, to provide greater certainty for businesses.

Crucially, he did not suggest any changes to business rate reliefs for charities (in particular charity shops). This “sensitive topic” he said, should be left up to the next Executive. The consultation report shows that there was unanimous support among charity respondents for maintaining the 100 per cent relief. On the other hand, 30 per cent of non-charity respondents believed charities could pay at least a limited amount of rates. CTG submitted a response in support of charity members CRUK and the Charity Retail Association, who had called for the existing charity relief to be maintained.