NIFHA has welcomed the opportunity to provide a written response to the Department of Finance and Personnel’s consultation on the Review of Non Domestic Rates.
NIFHA would like to thank the team at the Rating Policy Division of the Department of Finance and Personnel for taking the time to meet with our members and consult with them directly on the proposals.
In the response, NIFHA outlines the specific concerns of members, many of whom are proving care and support to the most vulnerable in society, often in partnership with smaller charities, in an increasingly challenging financial climate.
We stress our social purpose, and argue that attempt to remove rates relief, particularly in relation to the provision of public services to tenants in sheltered and supported accommodation, and even if levied at 20%, will render some already struggling schemes unviable.
We argue that with increasing land costs and competition from private developers, any rates levied on derelict land would directly impact on the capacity of our members to build new homes in line with the challenging targets set for them by the Northern Ireland Executive in the Programme for Government.
We argue that if any exemptions for rates relief are removed, our members should not be included and should continue to be eligible for the rates relief which is vital if they are to continue to provide public services in the provision of social and affordable housing and the provision of care and support.
NIFHA’s response to the consultation makes the following key points:
In our response we argue specifically that to fulfil their charitable purpose, housing associations should:
- Be exempt from any new rates levy on land, if that land is to be used for the development of new social and affordable homes, or for accommodation built to provide care and support;
- Be exempt from any rates on non-domestic properties that are providing services for public benefit in supported or sheltered accommodation;
- Be exempt from any rates proposed on empty dwellings where the dwelling has been purchased for the purpose of fulfilling their charitable function; and
- Continue to receive rates relief for residential homes.
To download a full copy of the consultation response, click here