In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, governmental intervention has led to provision for a 12 month 100 per cent rates holiday in England, Scotland and Wales.
To date, indications are that businesses in the North will have rates relief for just three months.
Said the Foyleside councillor: “We are conscious that this is an unprecedented pandemic and we have no way of knowing the full extent of the economic impact.
“We welcome the various protective measures that have been in place- such as the jobs retention scheme, deferrals in tax payments and business support grants.
“All these measures offer some comfort, hope and reassurance to business owners and employees during this period of uncertainty.
“However, the disparity in the rates relief structures needs to be addressed forthwith to ensure the survival of our local businesses.
“COVID-19 is not impacting us any less than elsewhere, and there is no reason why our businesses should not be offered the same rates relief.”
“It is grossly unfair that local businesses in the North are already paying significantly higher rates than their counterparts elsewhere.
“Burdensome business rates, against a backdrop of challenging economic circumstances aside from the pandemic, have already forced the closure of local independent and family enterprises.
“In Derry, in particular, a city that has been economically neglected for decades, our business sector has endured the added strain of Brexit uncertainty – more than anywhere else on these islands.”