ARMAGH Sinn Fein Councillor Cathy Rafferty has welcomed a commitment from the Department of Finance to a fairer distribution of the rates burden under the Rates Revaluation Scheme.
She said many small businesses in the Armagh City area had been complaining about the unacceptably large rates bills experienced here in comparison to traders in larger urban areas.
“This is adding to the economic difficulties in Armagh, as well as affecting investment decisions for those who wish to do business in the city,” said Cllr Rafferty.
“I undertook on their behalf to ask the council to raise this issue with the Department of Finance and Personnel who have responsibility for rates policy.
“The response from the Minister’s office does give some assurances that there will be a fairer distribution of the rates burden under the Rates Revaluation Scheme and, as a result of the merger of the three councils under the Review of Public Administration.
“However, he has accepted our request that an impact study will be carried out to assess the effect of these policies on council rates, rate income generation and economic competitiveness. This is particularly important, as the Armagh City area has faced real economic difficulties in recent years.
“I will continue to press the council to monitor the Department’s rates policy to ensure the fairest possible deal for our struggling ratepayers.”