Dobson challenges rates hike

A polling station
A polling station

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has written to the Finance Minister Simon Hamilton on behalf of local businesses who have been faced with what she has described as ‘crippling’ increases in their rates bills.

Mrs Dobson said “Many local businesses have been faced with totally unacceptable hikes in their rates in recent days.

“In some cases increases have been as much as 300%, at a time when many businesses are already struggling to stay afloat.”

Mrs Dobson continued: “Whilst some businesses will benefit from the rates revaluation others have been left reeling from impossible hikes in their bills.

Many have told me that they have put expansion plans on hold which will inevitably put local jobs and economic investment in jeopardy.

“What the Finance Minister seems to forget is that by presiding over a system which delivers rocketing rates bills for some of our local business he is forcing many closer to closing their doors.

“The Minister should have allowed for incremental changes to bills which could have avoided these crippling hikes and I am calling on him to intervene to help those businesses who are bearing the brunt.

“Businesses who are concerned about the impact of their new rates and valuations should contact Land and Property Services and consider appealing the decision, however this can be a drawn out and complicated process.

“A better solution would have been action from the Minister to avoid the situation arising in the first place.”