Hospitality industry welcomes rates relief extension

Hospitality industry welcomes rates relief extension

Publican hails ‘shot in arm’ for industry on its knees

The hospitality industry has welcomed the extension of rates relief for another 12 months for almost 30,000 businesses in Northern Ireland.

A package worth £230m, and proposed by Finance Minister Conor Murphy, means that for the second year running businesses in certain sectors will not pay any rates, They include :

  • hospitality, tourism and leisure
  • childcare
  • manufacturing
  • newspaper production
  • retail excluding larger food stores and off-licences

Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster, said: “This is really welcome news at a time when businesses in the hospitality sector are dead on their feet.

“They have either been closed or required to operate under the most severe restrictions of any business sector for nearly a year. The reopening phase, as outlined last week, will take months to get everyone trading again and most likely with restrictions in place.”

‘Shot in the arm’

Bernard Lavery, below, director of Lavery Ltd, which owns Belfast bars Laverys and The Pavilion, added: “This is a real shot in the arm for the hospitality trade and for retail. Everyone is on their knees, retail in particular, and any support is hugely welcome.

Colin Johnston, below, Managing Director of Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort described the announcement regarding rates relief for hospitality and tourism as “very much welcome,” adding:  We would like to extend our thanks to the Executive for their support during this challenging time.”

‘Burning £1m a day’

Colin Neill added: “Hospitality businesses are burning up £1m a day to keep their businesses closed and will lose at least one-third of this year’s turnover before they open.

“Further financial assistance in the form of a top up grant and a refinancing grant to support reopening will be essential. The excessive debt burden that the industry now faces will mean it will be years until the industry returns to profitability.”

“We would encourage the Minister and the Executive to examine these unique set of circumstances which impact the hospitality sector and make special considerations so that they can reopen on a sustainable footing and can actually benefit from the rates holiday.”