Minister encouraged by impact of rates relief

Leigh Courtney, owner of Eco Kidz Boutique in Larne, with Ava Telford and East Antrim MP and Finance Minister Sammy Wilson. INLT 40-360-PR
Leigh Courtney, owner of Eco Kidz Boutique in Larne, with Ava Telford and East Antrim MP and Finance Minister Sammy Wilson. INLT 40-360-PR

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has found out how the Empty Retail Premises rate relief has been assisting a Larne business owner.

Leigh Courtney owns Eco Kidz boutique in Upper Main Street which stocks premium quality recycled children’s items including nursery equipment, prams, toy and clothes. By setting up her shop in premises which were previously empty for more than 12 months Leigh will now benefit from 50 per cent. discount on her rates.

Mr Wilson said: “The Empty Retail Premises relief was introduced in April 2012 to get long-term empty shops and other retail premises back into business and to help rejuvenate town centres. Over recent months I have visited a number of businesses who have benefitted from the new scheme and have been encouraged to see the impact it is having.”

Congratulating the mum-of-two on her enterprise, the Minister said: “There is no doubt that we are currently in challenging economic times. However Leigh spotted an opening in the market and turned this into an opportunity with her innovative business idea. The first year in business can be daunting and I have no doubt that the 50 per cent rates concession will be of great help to Leigh.

“I would encourage anyone thinking of setting up a business in an empty retail unit to consider applying for the empty retail premises relief to help them get established.

“The new business doesn’t have to be retail, it doesn’t have to be town centre and the premises don’t necessarily have to be a traditional shop. You can contact Land & Property Services and they will be happy to advise you about applying.”

Further information about the Empty Retail Premises relief is available from the NI Business Info website at: http://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/emptypremises or by calling the Land & Property Services helpline on 0300 200 7801.