Magherafelt Chamber of Commerce has expressed its dismay at the recent 1.94% increase in the district rates.
The Chamber claim the new rates are “an added burden” which Mid Ulster Council has chosen to lay on all businesses and rate payers alike.
“There appears to be a total lack of communication and understanding from those councillors and council about what is really happening to small and medium sized businesses with the costs associated with the new National Minimum Wage and Auto Enrolment for pensions,” they said in a statement.
They claim the excuses given for the rates increase are “incomprehensible.”
“On top of the rates increase, Mid Ulster Council have continued with the policy of extracting approximately £300,000 per annum in parking fees and parking penalties from the business owners and shoppers in Magherafelt town centre,” they continue. “These parking fees harvested in Magherafelt town centre do not come directly back for the provision of services in the town.” They stressed this “inequality issue” has to be addressed and called on the voting public to lobby their politicians to ensure that council takes the appropriate measures to freeze parking fees or revert them back to 10 pence for 3 hours.