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Press Release


CAMRA calls for reform to better support Northern Ireland’s pubs

Following the news that Business Rates are set to increase in Northern Ireland [1], CAMRA is calling for greater support to keep Northern Ireland’s pubs open and thriving.

A Bill passed by MPs in Westminster last week and set to be voted on by the House of Lords tomorrow (12th March) introduces an increase in business rates for businesses in line with inflation – but does not make any changes to business rate relief.

While the UK Government has decided to increase Business Rates in line with inflation, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said it is up to Northern Ireland’s Ministers to decide on “programmes, incentives and support” to help businesses manage the burden of rates.

CAMRA is calling for extra support for Northern Ireland’s pubs to help ensure rising Business Rates don’t result in further pub closures.

Precedence for this has already been set in England, where a recent decision by the UK Government to extend Business Rate relief for pubs means that extra funding has been made available to Northern Ireland which could have been spent on helping local pubs.

CAMRA Director for Northern Ireland Sarah Crawford said: “It is clear that the rising cost of business rates, coupled with other rising costs and outdated licensing laws, are contributing to pubs closures and people choosing to leave the industry.

“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 by 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. CAMRA will continue to urge politicians locally and in Westminster to make reforming Business Rates for pubs a priority.”

Notes to editors:

[1] The Northern Ireland (Regional Rates and Energy) (No. 2) Bill passed all its stages of the Parliamentary process in the House of Commons on 6th March 2019 and will be considered by the House of Lords on 12th March before becoming law. The Bill sets the level of regional domestic and non-domestic (business) rates for the financial year ending 31 March 2020.