Finance minister Conor Murphy has announced that the business rates holiday in Northern Ireland will be extended for a further 12 months for businesses including hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses. In total 29,000 businesses will benefit from the rates holiday.
Mr Murphy said: “This £230 million package will provide continued support for businesses dealing with the impacts of the pandemic. Recognising that the months ahead will continue to be hugely challenging, extending the 12 months rates holiday in the hardest hit sectors will protect jobs.
“This package goes well beyond what has been announced in England and demonstrates the Executive’s commitment to providing certainty and support for businesses.
“It also protects councils’ rate income as the Executive will cover the full cost of the rates holiday.
“Today’s announcement means the additional rates support provided to businesses over two years amounts to more than half a billion pounds.
“To further support businesses, the Executive has also chosen to freeze the regional rate for businesses for the second year in a row.”
Colin Neill, chief executive of pub trade body Hospitality Ulster, said: “This is really welcome news at a time when businesses in the hospitality sector are dead on their feet.
“They have either been closed or required to operate under the most severe restrictions of any business sector for nearly a year.”
But he said businesses needed more information about how and when they can reopen safely so they can benefit from the rates holiday while trading. Belfast Chamber chief executive Simon Hamilton said: “As we look towards reopening our economy, this is a recognition by the Executive that the road to recovery will be a long and hard one for many customer facing businesses and the removal of this substantial cost will be of huge assistance.”