MLA raises ‘crippling’ rates bills with minister

Jo-Anne Dobson. INLM4710-882con
Jo-Anne Dobson. INLM4710-882con

The ‘crippling’ hike in rates bills has been raised by Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson with the Finance Minister Simon Hamilton.

It follows a flood of complaints particularly from local businesses, some of whom saw a substantial rise in their bills.

The Ulster Unionist MLA said she had written to the DUP Finance minister on behalf of local businesses.

Mrs Dobson, who is her party’s Upper Bann Westminster candidate said: “Many local businesses have been faced with totally unacceptable hikes in their rates. In some cases increases have been as much as 300%, at a time when many businesses are already struggling to stay afloat.

“The results of a re-evaluation conducted by Land and Property Services towards the end of last year are currently being sent to businesses.

“Whilst some businesses will benefit from the rates revaluation others have been left reeling from impossible hikes in their bills. Many have told me that they have put expansion plans on hold which will inevitably put local jobs and economic investment in jeopardy.

“What the Finance Minister seems to forget is that by presiding over a system which delivers rocketing rates bills for some of our local business he is forcing many closer to closing their doors.

“The Minister should have allowed for incremental changes to bills which could have avoided these crippling hikes.”