We need a full range of measures to support local businesses
Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann has said that the current review of business rates undertaken by the Economic Research Institute must look at the full range of measures to support local businesses.
Speaking in a debate at Stormont today Ms McCann said:
"The new functions of councils should include a system of local government accountability for the spending of commercial rates, as is currently the case in the South of Ireland.
"Business rates should be ring-fenced for economic development.
"A crucial aspect of strengthening enterprise is the nurturing of new businesses and part of this should involve lightening the financial burden of these businesses during their start-up period.
"The financial benefits to businesses on their own will not contribute significantly to development unless the benefits gained are used strategically. Rates relief for new businesses and for businesses, which locate in New TSN areas, should be based on compulsory, agreed and accountable action plans for those businesses.
"The issue of industrial de-rating can be seen in isolation from the significant infrastructural deficit in the North, the higher costs for businesses here and the progressive squeezing of resources by the British Treasury. Business rating is only one aspect of a much wider problem that requires general reforms, including democratic control of fiscal policy and the development of an all Ireland taxation system." ENDS