The Chamber of Commerce hosted a Business Rates Review Workshop with Permanent Secretary Sue Gray, in the City Hotel, Derry.
The event was held in partnership with the Department of Finance, which has recently launched a consultation on a comprehensive review of business rates in Northern Ireland. The review will look at whether the current system for rates is fair and effective and will make recommendations for improvement.
The workshop brought together business leaders in the North West with officials from the Department of Finance who are consulting with a wide range of businesses, industry groups and sector leaders right across Northern Ireland.
Permanent Secretary for the Department of Finance, Sue Gray addressed businesses at the workshop saying: “Since May, when I announced this widespread review of business rates, my Department has been consulting with a range of stakeholders right across all areas of our economy. This is to help ensure we have taken on board as many different perspectives as possible and ensure an effective consultation process takes place.
“I’m really grateful to the Chamber for hosting the event today which demonstrates our commitment to listening to the views of businesses right across Northern Ireland.
“It’s important that we can respond to changes in the economic landscape to ensure the rating system and its suite of reliefs and other measures support a vibrant and growing economy.”
During the meeting, the President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce made representations of behalf of the business community across the North West, stating that consulting with business groups is crucial to ensuring a review of rates that is meaningful and effective.
President of the Chamber, Brian McGrath said: “We were pleased to be able to bring together business leaders in the North West and departmental officials to discuss how a rates review can help bring about positive economic change for businesses operating here.
“Our members are working in very uncertain times and any initiative that aims to help them address the burden that business rates can present, is something that is to be welcomed and encouraged.
“We cannot allow rates to be a deterrent for people starting up or growing their businesses and it’s important that the rating system works for everyone, both in terms of contributing towards our public services, but also allowing businesses to flourish and create prosperity for our region.
“We would encourage all of our members to take the time to respond to this important consultation.”