The Northern Ireland Executive considered the wider issue of rural rate relief, including that for rural post offices, in 2002. Northern Ireland has had the enabling power since 1998 to introduce a scheme similar to the rural rate relief scheme which operates in Great Britain. Both the Executive and direct rule Ministers decided not to introduce it because analysis showed it did not suit Northern Ireland's more dispersed settlement pattern. It would also potentially have an unfavourable impact from both an equality and New TSN perspective.
The Government, however, are re-examining the case for small business rate relief in April 2007 and support for post offices can be considered as part of this review.