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Larger supermarkets and off licences aside, most retailers in Northern Ireland will not have to pay rates this year, Finance Minister Conor Murphy has announced.

Mr Murphy said the new exemptions would be worth £213m to businesses and brings total support from rates relief and grants to more than £700m.

He said large food stores and off licences were not part of the 12-month exemption as they had been able to continue trading, albeit with higher costs.

Mr Murphy told the assembly the extension of rates exemption was not yet fully funded, but the money would be available.

He said: “Businesses need certainty now.”

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