Northern Ireland’s Department of Finance has launched a public consultation on business rates in the region.

Permanent secretary Sue Gray said: “This review is about looking at the current position and making recommendations to ensure that our business rates system is effective and fair while raising the funds needed to support Northern Ireland’s key services.

The review has been welcomed by CAMRA.

Director for Scotland & Northern Ireland Sarah Crawford (pictured above) said: “CAMRA welcomes this fundamental review of business rates. We hope that it will be an opportunity to support Northern Ireland’s pub trade, which often falls victim to strict licensing laws and a heavy tax bill.

“Many pubs are facing increases in the amount they pay in business rates and ultimately, it will be the consumers who pay the price as publicans are forced to put up prices or close their doors forever.

“Pubs are more than just businesses – not only do they offer supervised and social environments to safely consume alcohol but in many communities, they are the hub of activity and events. They have a hugely positive impact on people’s personal wellbeing, from helping individuals make friends to providing a support network for long-term locals.

“This is a significant opportunity to start prioritising Northern Ireland’s pubs and fix a broken and antiquated system.”

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