Nearly third of rates appeals successful

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SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat has been told by the Minister for Finance and Personnel, that approximately 27 percent of commercial rates appeals have been successful in both the Limavady and Coleraine areas.

Responding to an assembly question put forward by Mr Dallat, Minister Simon Hamilton revealed that the total number of non-domestic valuation challenge cases received for the Coleraine District Council Area over the last three years was 238.

He said that of these cases, 64 resulted in a valuation assessment lower than the initial assessment.

Minister Hamilton said that in total 366 appeals were made by businesses in the Coleraine and Limavady areas, and of these 98 were successful.

“In future I would expect the number of appeals to increase significantly as a result of the outcry when the latest valuations were announced which showed highly significant increases for many small and medium-sized businesses in both Limavady and Coleraine.

“The rates burden placed on businesses in both towns and in other smaller towns in the district has reached a point where it has become impossible to meet it.

“The rates appeal mechanism is one option but it lacks the flexibility to take into account turnover and other critical factors which influence profit margins.

“Nevertheless I would encourage any business which feels it has been wrongly assessed to do so.”