Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA has visited two rural businesses which have received just under £50,000 in support from DAERA’s Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme and the Rural Business Investment Scheme.
On a solar farm near Cookstown, the Minister met Samuel Knox and David Woodend, Directors of Kann O&M Ltd, which is based outside Broughshane, Co. Antrim. The services provided by Kann O&M Ltd include the electrical maintenance of High Voltage plant and Solar panels, as well as ground works and cleaning of solar panels to ensure optimal yield. Kann O&M Ltd received financial assistance of £19,425 from the Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme to purchase a Tractor Mounted Automated Wet Wash Brush System to clean solar panels.
Minister Poots said: “The Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme and the Rural Business Investment Scheme have proved successful in helping many rural businesses to grow and expand. I am delighted to have the opportunity to see how this support has helped two such businesses in Antrim and Mid-Ulster.
“Kann O&M Ltd received financial support totalling £19,425 under the NI Rural Development Programme. This investment services an industry which is making a positive contribution to our environment and the mechanised service will improve productivity and efficiency for both Kann O&M Ltd and the solar farms. I wish them every success for the future.”
Minister Poots continued to Sperrin View Glamping, located on the foothills of the Sperrin’s and based in Beaghmore, outside Cookstown. Sperrin View Glamping received financial assistance of £30,000 from DAERA’s Rural Business Investment Scheme towards the purchase of glamping pods.
The Minister met Yvette and Michael Quinn at Sperrin View Glamping. The site consists of four glamping pods which have specifically manufactured viewing windows and provides a unique experience of lying under the Dark Sky, which the area is renowned for.
Minister Poots said: “It was positive to hear from Yvette and Michael of how funding of £30,000 from DAERA’s Rural Business Investment Scheme enabled them to expand their business through the purchase of four additional glamping pods. With more people considering a staycation this year Sperrin View Glamping will be in a position to attract more tourists to the Mid Ulster area, offering the unique opportunity to sleep under Northern Ireland’s only accredited Dark Sky through the specifically manufactured viewing windows.
“This investment has the potential to complement my Department’s investment in rural tourism in the Mid Ulster area. Tourism is vitally important to our rural economy and it is important that we invest in infrastructure that will help attract more visitors to Northern Ireland and encourage them to stay longer.
“I would like to thank Sperrin View Glamping for their hospitality and I wish them every success in the future.”
Cllr Sean Clarke, Vice Chair of Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership, said: “Under the LAG’s Rural Business Investment Scheme we have approved £2.83m in funding to 95 rural based businesses across Mid Ulster which has helped these business expand and grow. There are many barriers faced by rural businesses which impact on their ability to prosper but with the help of funding assistance through the Rural Development Programme many have been able to invest in innovative business ideas which will make them more productive and competitive. Sperrin View Glamping is a great example of how LEADER funding works to encourage new businesses in rural areas and we wish Michael and Yvette every success for the future.”
Murphy Announces Business Rates Revaluation
Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has today announced a revaluation of all 74,750 non-domestic properties, delivering on his commitment for more frequent revaluations here.
Known as ‘Reval2023’, this process will result in a new non-domestic Valuation List being used to calculate business rate bills from April 2023.
Announcing the revaluation, Minister Murphy said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the economy resulting in changes between business sectors and this will feed through to changes to the rental values of many properties.
“Although the last revaluation was just over a year ago in 2020, I have asked Land & Property Services to bring forward another revaluation in the shortest possible time.
“Reval2023 will maintain fairness and ensure businesses are paying rates which take account of the impact of the pandemic.”
Commenting on support provided to businesses, Minister Murphy added: “Since April 2020, I have provided over £500 million of additional business rates support, with many businesses paying no rates at all over two years. The Executive has also provided significant financial support to businesses in the form of grants.
“As we look ahead to economic recovery and given the large scale of a revaluation it is important this work gets underway now.”
Business rates are charged on most non-domestic premises including shops, offices, warehouses, factories, hotels and pubs as well as utilities such as gas, water, electricity and wind farms.
Land & Property Services will begin collecting property information from business ratepayers later this year. This important information will form a database of new rental values as at 1 October 2021, instead of the current 2018 values, and will be used in assessing new rateable values for every property.
Town and City Centre Investment Helping Thousands of Businesses in Their Recovery
A £19.3million funding programme to support town and city centres recover from the impact of Covid-19 has helped thousands of businesses across councils, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has said.
Launched in August 2020, initial funding for the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme was for measures such as shop frontage and awnings/canopies; outdoor furniture; heaters and queueing systems. More recently the funding support longer term initiatives such as the creation of cycle paths and pedestrian walkways to encourage car-free shopping, small environmental improvements and the use of open space and vacant premises to provide safe facilities.
Total funding for the scheme was made up of £12million from the Department for Communities, £5million from the Department for Infrastructure and £2.3million from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Speaking after visiting business in Enniskillen who availed of the funding Minister Hargey said: “The Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme is an excellent example of collaborative working and was created to help and support our urban and rural businesses deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In total the funding has supported over 3,000 businesses across the north which has helped them to reopen safely. The funding has also been used to encourage people back into our towns and city centres to spend time, to support our local businesses and ultimately to help keep our town and city centres alive and prosperous.
“It has delivered funding of £1.29million to Fermanagh & Omagh District Council to support a range of projects including grants to support businesses across the entire Council area as they prepared a pathway out of lockdown by assisting them to provide a safer shopping experience for all their customers. I was pleased to see at first hand today how some of this support has been received by businesses in Enniskillen.”
Cllr. Chris McCaffrey (Vice Chairperson) Fermanagh & Omagh District Council added: “Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is committed to working in partnership to improve the lives of all the people of the district and this approach has delivered tangible benefits making the district an attractive place to live, work and visit.
The Council has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Department for Communities over a number of years and it is a partnership we look forward to continuing to develop into the future for the benefit of our businesses and the wider community.
The £1.2million funding through the Covid-19 Business Recovery and Revitalisation Grant Aid Scheme has been used to support businesses to respond to the impacts of the Covid-19 health pandemic, to encourage people to support local to aid economic recovery and to deliver schemes which will promote and revitalise our town centres.
The Council will continue to work with the Department for Communities and other partners to provide assistance to local businesses and aid the recovery of the district into the future.”