Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Rate Relief Schemes

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance and Personnel – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 13th October 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Samuel Gardiner Samuel Gardiner UUP 3:15 pm, 13th October 2015

T9. Mr Gardiner asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel for an update on the number of rate relief schemes available to the domestic and non-domestic sectors. (AQT 2999/11-16)

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

As the Member will be aware, a wide range of rate-relief schemes is available to both sectors. The Department, at the time of local government reform, put in place a rate convergence system, which cost £30 million, to ease the burden of change that was coming to some ratepayers. The small business rate relief scheme has been hugely successful right across Northern Ireland; we have the empty property relief scheme and industrial derating as well, which has been very helpful to our manufacturing sector.

Photo of Samuel Gardiner Samuel Gardiner UUP

I thank the Minister for her response. Does she intend to extend all those schemes into the next financial year?

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

We will be keeping those schemes for the current financial year. We are looking at the small business rate relief scheme, which was meant to be a short-term intervention. We rolled it forward into this year. We are looking with the Department for Social Development as to whether that is the best use of that money or whether it would be better to use it in a different way. Those are discussions that we will have. We will not just end it suddenly; it is something that we will do in consultation with the small-business community because, as I said, it has been hugely beneficial to that community.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

That concludes Question Time. I should have said that question 7 from John McCallister was withdrawn, question 8 from Alex Maskey was withdrawn, and question 10 from me — mise — was withdrawn. My question was withdrawn because I was chairing the meeting.