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    Northern Ireland to see business rate rise by 4 per cent

    (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

    Stormont’s executive has agreed to raise the regional rate by 4 per cent for the next financial year, First Minister Michelle O’Neill has said.

    Although a double-digit percentage increase in the regional rate had been suggested by some in Northern Ireland – with the aim of tackling the region’s considerable financial problems – the Stormont assembly announced this week that the increase would be four per cent, in line with inflation.

    O’Neill said the executive decision on the four per cent increase was a “very responsible way to go forward” and “reasonable in terms of the inflationary pressures that we have”.

    “We’re determined to secure every penny of financial support for our public services and we’re determined to achieve everything that was put down in that deal before Christmas, but we’re also not prepared to put punitive costs on to households that are struggling through the cost-of-living crisis,” she said.

    Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, said, “While we would have preferred no change in the non-domestic regional rate, four per cent is within the level of inflation and nowhere near the ridiculous suggestion of a 15 per cent increase.

    “That being said, our members are paying the most expensive business rates in the UK and the finance minister needs to set up a fundamental review of our broken, expensive and antiquated rating system.”

    Roberts added that Northern Ireland’s retailers were not benefiting from the reduction in rates being enjoyed by similar businesses in England.

    “In England, small businesses are getting a 75 per cent reduction in their rates to assist with the cost-of-doing-business crisis. Despite the UK government giving Northern Ireland this funding as part of the Barnett Consequential, our local small businesses are not going to see a single penny of reduction in their rates bills,” he said.

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