The NI Executive is pressing ahead with its planned 15% rates levy on large retailers and the new Rates Bill has just been published – you can download a copy and the Explanatory Memorandum below.

The Bill will now be considered by the Assembly and will come into effect on 1 April this year unless MLAs reject the proposal.

The Levy is the wrong tax at the wrong time – recent high profile business failures such as La Senza, Peacocks and Past Times underline that many retailer groups are teetering on the brink of collapse.

In many cases, the business is then sold but the purchaser can cherry pick the outlets it will keep open based on their profitability.

It is also misplaced to believe that retailers will simply subsidise their NI stores for the next 3 years (the proposed duration of the levy) and not adjust their staff numbers.

We urge MLAs to stand back from the brink and avoid the inevitable consequence that the Levy destroys more jobs than the expansion of the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme will protect.

A more detailed explanation of the Bill can be downloaded from the “Briefing Notes” section to the left.