Alliance Finance spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has called on the Minister of Finance to move swiftly to replicate in Northern Ireland support due to be provided to local businesses in England who are still dealing with issues over accrued rental debt due to the pandemic, once the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill passes through UK Parliament.
Mr Muir has said he is ‘encouraged’ after plans for a Westminster Bill containing measures to assist commercial landlords and tenants in resolving rent debts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic were released.
This proposed Bill aims to find a proportionate solution to debt that has been accrued by business due to the pandemic and places an emphasis on protecting jobs and returning to normal commercial relations between tenants and their landlords.
Mr Muir said: “Whilst many businesses have been able to come to an agreement with their landlords over COVID-19 related rent debt, unfortunately that has not been the case for all. I have been contacted by businesses keen to see government step in and introduce a legally binding arbitration process to settle debts accrued.
“I urge Minister Murphy to act quickly once the legislation passes in Westminster to ensure that business and landlords in Northern Ireland can obtain the same protections that will be introduced in England.”