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Finance Minister Launches ‘Back In Business’ Scheme in Newry City

Newry Chamber welcomes the new ‘Back In Business’ Scheme which offers businesses a 50% rates discount for up to two years if they occupy a vacant shop unit.

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy MLA today launched the revamped, more generous scheme in Newry City today which he hopes will give business owners who set up in empty premises help to get established in the first two years.

The scheme offers 50% rate relief for up to two years when empty premises become occupied. There are currently over 12,500 vacant business premises across Northern Ireland. 

The previous scheme, which expired in 2017, supported over 550 businesses. The new scheme concession applies to any business ratepayer who moves into premises, which were previously used for retail purposes and have been unoccupied for 12 months or more.

Julie Gibbons, President of Newry Chamber commented:

“We at Newry Chamber have long lobbied on behalf of our membership, particularly our retail members, for a stimulus to assist the regeneration of the high street.”

“So we are delighted with the Department of Finance’s ‘Back In Business’ Scheme announcement which will assist retail businesses to overcome the blockage that expensive rates can be in terms of selecting competitively located premises in their initial stages of trading.”

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy MLA said:

“This rate relief scheme will help attract businesses onto the high street and into our town centres. This revamped scheme builds on the rate relief previously offered and extends the relief for an additional year. This will be vital in boosting post pandemic footfall for all businesses, new and existing and will help restore the vibrancy of the high street as shoppers, tourists and workers return to the town centres.”

“I have seen the effects of the pandemic during visits to town centres in recent months and I hope this scheme will support the regeneration of our high streets, building up business occupation in these areas.”

“There are many opportunities for new businesses to move into their first premises and for existing businesses to expand. With over 12,500 empty properties available, I hope this rate relief will encourage businesses to take the opportunity, knowing they will have discounted rates to pay for the first two years.”

Further information can be found on the scheme HERE.

The scheme will open for applications in May 2022.