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NIIRTA call on local councils not to hike rates printable version
18 Feb 2011: posted by the editor - Northern Ireland
As local councils begin to strike rates for businesses, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association has urged them to show restraint and to avoid excessive hikes on small businesses and retailers.
NIIRTA’s call comes after increasing speculation that Belfast City Council may hike its rates up by 4.5% next week
NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “After poor Christmas trading, a drought and a VAT increase, an excessive hike in rates is the last thing struggling independent retailers need at this time. There is real concern that if local councils strike excessive increases in rates then some traders will close their doors which will clearly reduce the amount of rates that are collected and add to our unemployment figures.
“Limavady Council should be commended for actually reducing their rates and we would urge other councils to follow on from their lead. I would urge Belfast City Council to shelve plans to increase its rates by 4.5% given its likely impact on small businesses.
“We have also urged the Executive, like their Scottish counterparts to increase rates on out of town multiple supermarkets. They enjoy a competitive advantage over town centres retailers with free car parking and should therefore pay for this. The extra rates generated could be used to support town centre regeneration projects and ease the burden on smaller traders.”
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