CAMRA calls on MPs to cut business rates for Northern Ireland’s pubs
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is calling on MPs to reduce the business rates bill paid by local pubs, as the Northern Ireland Budget Bill is introduced to the Westminster. The Bill is expected to be passed in the coming days so that a Budget for Northern Ireland can be agreed before Parliament is dissolved for a General Election.
In the absence of a functioning Assembly at Stormont, business rates have been increasing in line with inflation for the last few years.
CAMRA is now calling for extra support for Northern Ireland’s pubs to help ensure rising rates don’t result in further pub closures.
Precedence for this has already been set in England, where the UK Government decided to extend Business Rate relief for pubs. Similar rate relief schemes operate in Wales and Scotland.
The Department of Finance is currently holding a public consultation on how best to reform the business rates system when the Assembly is restored.
Chair of CAMRA NI Ruth Sloan said: “It is clear that the rising cost of business rates, coupled with other rising costs and outdated licensing laws, are contributing to pub closures and people choosing to leave the industry, which has an impact on consumer choice for locals and visitors alike.
“Pubs are at the heart of local communities across Northern Ireland, acting as important social hubs, helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation as well as being key to the tourism industry. It is vital that politicians do everything they can to stem pub closures and keep them alive and thriving - including reducing the burden of Business Rates.
“Whilst pubs in Great Britain are receiving more help with rates, it isn’t fair that costs continue to rise for pubs in Northern Ireland. That’s why CAMRA wants this Budget legislation being passed at Westminster to include reductions in rates for pubs until the Assembly is restored and can take decisions about how best to reform business rates here to make them fairer for pubs.”
Notes to editors:
The Northern Ireland Budget Bill has been introduced to the House of Commons today.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with over 190,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community
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