The consultation follows Permanent Secretary Sue Gray’s announcement of a “full and comprehensive review of non-domestic rates” in May of this year.
Said Cllr Durkan: “I hope the review will ultimately lead to a fairer and more equitable rates structure, taking account of ability to pay, and enabling those in need to access hardship schemes.
“I also hope that the review will give due consideration to a green rate relief scheme to incentivize businesses to invest in green infrastructure and promote positive climate action in business practice.
“It is grossly unfair that local businesses in the North are paying significantly higher rates than their counterparts elsewhere. Burdensome business rates, against a backdrop of challenging economic circumstances and coupled with other increasing costs, are forcing many local and family businesses to shut down shop.
“Proper consideration should be given to ability to pay and particular economic circumstances in setting a fair and equitable rates structure.
“In Derry, in particular, a city that has been economically neglected for decades, enterprises in our hospitality and retail sectors face the added strain of Brexit uncertainty and also the economic impact of welfare cuts.
“These local businesses are the heartbeat of our city, both in economic and social terms.
“Government should be seeking to help these businesses – not hamstring them!”