Given how the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland has taken a hammering in the last few years, unsurprisingly the Secretary of State is being heavily lobbied to cap local business rates by a cross party group drawing from a number of Northern Irish parties. “Group spokesperson Basil McCrea said the support of the parties was hugely significant and he hoped Mr Hain would take on board the suggestion that the industrial rates bills should be capped at 25%.”
Companies may not close down immediately but all future investment plans will be directed away from Northern Ireland. Over a relatively short period of time we will lose much of our manufacturing base. This disastrous state of affairs is not brought about by international competition but by the ill-considered actions of a government which has been misinformed. The ending of industrial de-rating is not inevitable. The situation can be reversed by changing government policy.