On 19 January 2016 Finance Minister Mervyn Storey introduced legislation in the Assembly to allow enhanced rate relief to be provided to struggling community amateur sports clubs.
This Bill permits the Department to put community sports on the same footing as community halls by granting 100 per cent rate relief to unlicensed club premises and associated sporting facilities.
The Rates (Amendment) Bill passed its Final Stage in the Assembly on 2 February 2016 and gained Royal Assent on 28 February 2016.
On 2 March the Department launched a targeted consultation document in relation to the proposed use of the enabling power. The consultation ran until 9 May 2016.
Following the consultation period the Department produced a report with the proposed way forward and following recommendations from the Minister, the Assembly passed the necessary legislation for these changes to apply from 26 October onwards.
The agreed change enhanced relief from 80 per cent to 100 per cent for Community Amateur Sports Clubs without a bar. Clubs must apply in order to receive the enhanced relief.