The Finance Minister Sammy Wilson announced on Monday this week that the Revaluation of all commercial properties in Northern Ireland that was planned to come into effect on 1 April 2011 has been cancelled and the next Revaluation will not take place until 2015.”This is extremely disappointing for ratepayers such as large industrial companies and a lot of small businesses whose rates bills would have fallen as a result of the Revaluation” says Tom Maclynn from RHM.

“We have not had a Revaluation in Northern Ireland since 2003 whereas England, Scotland and Wales all had Revaluations in 2005 and 2010.  This means that rating assessments in Northern Ireland are based on economic circumstances in 2001.  The world has changed completely during the last 9 years and, as a result,  a large number of ratepayers are subsidising others and this is patently unfair” commented Tom.

“Another unfairness with the Northern Ireland rating system is that, unlike in GB, our legislation does not provide for “material changes of circumstance” whereby a ratepayer can apply for his rating assessment to be reduced if circumstances materially change in between Revaluations.  This means that if, for instance, a large supermarket or new shopping centre opens and adversely affects nearby shops ratepayers can obtain a reduction in their rates in GB but ratepayers in NI cannot.  This is clearly unfair and the law needs to be changed as a matter of urgency.  The fact that assessments will not be revalued until 2015 makes the case for this change in the law even stronger” says Tom.