Campbell calls for greater flexibility on rates payment

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has called for greater flexibility to be introduced in payment methods for rates, including the use of credit cards for non-domestic customers.

By Gregory Campbell MP

East Londonderry

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Mr Campbell said,

“Domestic customers can avail of a discount on rates if the bill is paid in full within a set timeframe. Such a facility however is not available to non-domestic customers even where their bill is for the same amount.

Similarly households can use a credit card to pay a rates bill but businesses cannot, with the level of charges incurred cited as the reason for this.

Businesses are feeling the impact of the current cost of living crisis, and it is impacting cashflow for many. The Department of Finance should look at how flexibility could be introduced. If a limit was placed on the use of credit cards it could be targeted for small businesses and the charges would not be different than for most domestic customers.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and if they are forced to close their doors then all rates payments would be lost. This would be a relatively small measure to introduce at little cost but the Finance Minister has declined to introduce it.

Her colleague the First Minister said last week she wouldn’t penalise hard pressed families with revenue raising such as water charges yet here is a small measure which would help thousands of small family businesses at a time of rising costs and her party colleague the Finance Minister has turned it down. To add insult to injury she says that while those who pay on time will get no help, those who are in arrears CAN pay by credit card. This needs to be reviewed and a sensible decision arrived at for the forthcoming rates payment year.”

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