Business Paying £46 million Higher Taxation Than Before Recession Began - NIM To Begin Local Lobbying Campaign
NI Manufacturing is to embark on a series of factory meetings with MLAs designed to highlight how business’ local tax burden has risen by over £45 million a year through the imposition of sewage charges. The meetings, which begin in Portadown on Friday 18th of September, will aim to brief MLAs on the real experiences of Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector during the downturn, and the need for the Executive to understand how local companies are now paying substantially more local taxation during the worst recession in living memory.
Over the coming weeks NIM will invite MLAs across Northern Ireland to come to factories and plants in their constituencies to hear directly from management and workers about the strains being caused by the current economic difficulties. High on the agenda will be ideas like a low interest loan which could be tied to the level companies have paid on industrial rates, and a ‘rates break’ in the next financial year.
The ‘rates break’ proposal which has been put to the Finance Minister aims to place twenty million pounds back into the hands of manufacturers. This is a move which NIM believes will support companies through the recession, protect jobs, and strengthen the industry for recovery. While NIM accept that this move is only feasible in the new year, they will also lobby for a short term loan scheme which could be tied to the amount which has been paid in the last year on industrial rates.
Chief Executive Bryan Gray explained:
“We understand difficult decisions have to be made in regard to public finances. However at present manufacturing drives 25% of the economy. Many otherwise viable businesses are struggling in the current economic climate. There is a clear need for speedy and direct action to help protect manufacturers and thousands of jobs. We have always said that we are more than willing to pay what we can afford, but with the imposition of sewage charges this year, business is now paying £20 million into DFP on industrial rates and £46 million in these new charges. This is clearly too much to shoulder in these difficult times.
“The province has already suffered huge job losses this year running as high as 1000 per week at one stage. Once those jobs have been lost and companies damaged the prospect of any recovery is minimal. We want to let MLAs know, face to face, how solid companies are suffering real cash flow problems, and are therefore in danger of folding if help doesn’t come soon. We appreciate the efforts of the Executive to date, but more needs to be done.”
When de-rating was proposed under direct rule, NI Manufacturing campaigned alongside local politicians to successfully secure a cap of 30%. The organisation now hopes that during these more difficult economic circumstances the same local representatives will understand the current need, and support NI Manufacturing’s campaign for a short term loan scheme, and a ‘rates break’.