Businesses may be forced to close over rising rates

Pictured at the Stormont rates meeting are ' left to right - Cllr Jonny Buckley; President of Portadown Chamber of Commerce Adrain Farrell; VP Chamber of Commerce Geraldine Lawless; Finance Minister Simon Hamilton; Colin Robinson Chamber Rep and Sydney Anderson MLA
Pictured at the Stormont rates meeting are ' left to right - Cllr Jonny Buckley; President of Portadown Chamber of Commerce Adrain Farrell; VP Chamber of Commerce Geraldine Lawless; Finance Minister Simon Hamilton; Colin Robinson Chamber Rep and Sydney Anderson MLA
  • Concern over rates bill rise
  • ’Worthwhile’ meeting with Minister
  • Businesses urged to appeal revaluations

Some local businesses could be forced to close their doors over the re-valuation of their properties, an Upper Bann MLA has warned.

Sydney Anderson of the DUP spoke out after he, and a delegation from Portadown Chamber of Commerce, discussed the rates issue with Finance Minister Simon Hamilton at Stormont last week.

I was amazed at some of the percentage increases

MLA Sydney Anderson

Issues affecting small business in the town and surrounding areas were discussed and top of the agenda was the recent re-valuation of non-domestic properties, continuation of small business rate relief scheme and shop vacancies.

Land and Property Services have re-valued non-domestic properties across Northern Ireland meaning that ‘new values’ will be used to calculate rates bills from April 1.

This means that ratepayers will be paying based on their 2013 rental value – as opposed to the last evaluation which was back in 2001.

While some businesses – including many in the Portadown town area – are set to benefit from the revaluation, others have faced a significant rise which has caused much concern among many within the business community.

Mr Anderson, who was backed up by Councillor Johnny Buckley, said, “This was certainly a worthwhile meeting with the Minister, who fully understood the difficult position small businesses find themselves in.

“I was amazed at some of the percentage increases, and the knock-on effect this would have on small businesses. Some may have to close their doors.

“The Minister urged all those businesses who have received substantial increases due to re valuation to appeal directly to Land and Property Services, and I would reiterate this call.”

Chamber President Adrian Farrell commented, “I would thank Sydney for facilitating this meeting. The minister assured members there is expected to be an extension to the small business rates relief scheme and that the 50% vacant premises relief scheme will continue into 2016.”