“Sinn Fein seems to be proposing a 100% increase of the rates bill for all owners of empty retail and other business premises. This would be a hammer blow for the local business community”.
Frank Shivers was commenting on Sinn Fein’s manifesto launched today.
Sinn Fein’s manifesto includes a commitment to ‘placing a time limit on rates relief for empty properties’. This implies that business owners who have been subject to 50% of non-domestic rates on empty premises since 2004 could see their bills rise by 100%.
Mr Shivers, who runs a retail business in Bangor, called for Sinn Fein to explain in detail what this manifesto commitment entails.
“We need clarity from Sinn Fein as a matter of urgency. The owners of business premises, whether it be shops of whatever, don’t want to keep premises empty but putting an extra tax burden on them is the wrong way to encourage business start-ups.”
“This is typical of Sinn Fein they talk about growing the economy but in reality they regard business as a cash cow.
“In contrast the Conservatives would introduce short term rate relief for those constructing A class offices or upgrading office space to A grade. We need developers to build premises to host the companies we wish to attract. We would exempt newly finished offices from business rates until they are fully occupied.”