A scheme designed to help businesses cope with increases in business rates may need more time to have an effect.
Under the scheme, businesses can apply to defer paying the latest 5 per cent rise in business rates over a three-year period.
The rise was based on the previous September’s retail prices index rate of inflation. Since then inflation has fallen sharply.
Businesses can pay 2 per cent of the increase this year and 3 per cent over the next two years.
However, there have been suggestions that the number of firms that have applied for the deferral is much lower than the estimated 50 per cent to 90 per cent that had been anticipated at the launch of the scheme.
A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said that the programme was still only a few months old and that it was too soon to confirm how many firms had joined the scheme.