The Dáil will today debate an urgent motion tabled by Fianna Fáil calling for a review of rates charged to businesses by local authorities. Fianna Fáil is proposing a more reasonable system which would ease pressure on businesses, particularly smaller firms and businesses operating on offshore islands.
The Dáil motion to be debated calls for a calling for a substantial cut in commercial valuations at every local authority across the country, and a 50% cut in the rates charged on businesses based on offshore islands in view of the extra costs they face.
Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill said: “The Fianna Fáil’s proposals to be published today will go a long way to easing the burden on businesses, particularly small employers which are crucial for the economy and local employment.
“Businesses are struggling with rising costs and are now in fear of being hit with more stealth charges from the Government in the budget. There are thousands of employers across Donegal and the North West just keeping their heads above water. We need to do more at a national level to support them and for many businesses, one of the main costs affecting them are the rates charged by their local authority.
“The valuation lists used for most commercial properties are outdated as a result of the major changes experienced in property values in recent years. As a result many businesses are paying rates that are inflated. Fianna Fáil is proposing a major overhaul to this system as a matter of urgency.
“Other avenues of valuation could include self-assessment and a clause that would recognise a business’ ability to pay.
“At national level Fine Gael and Labour have been in Government since March but the reality is that both parties have controlled the majority of local authorities around the country since long before that. The rates charged at this level are no longer sustainable and reform must be brought about quickly to ensure businesses are in a stronger position next year.
Senator Ó Domhnaill concluded: “There are genuine fears among businesses that they’re not being treated fairly and proposals to shift costs from central Government directly to employers as well as a 2% VAT increase coming in the budget will put many of them out of business altogether. The Government must refocus its attention toward job creation instead of hurting the very people in a position to grow the local and national economy.”
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