Fair rates system will help protect local businesses – Tóibín
Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Peadar Tóibín has said that the Government needs to introduce greater fairness for the rates system for local businesses.
Speaking today following a Sinn Féin discussion with representatives from ISME and business owners, Deputy Tóibín said:
“Main Street Ireland has taken a heavy hit in the past few years. There has been a shocking trend of businesses being unable to function. This has not been helped by huge rate increases following the commercial rates revaluations process which have hit many businesses in County Meath towns.
“While local authorities develop the rates, the rates system under which they work is decided by the policy of the Minister's Government. Minister Simon Coveney will be publishing legislation on commercial rates and it is vital that voices of small traders and local businesses are heard before any proposed changes are made.
“Much of the system in place dates back from the mid-19th century and it is utterly antiquated. The new system must ensure that local authorities have a revenue stream to provide for local services, and crucially, that rate payers are treated fairly.
“Indeed, two years ago, many giant utility companies such as Vodafone, Meteor, BT Ireland and so forth were given rate reductions to the tune of €21 million. This meant that other local businesses have had to pay the deficit through increased commercial rates.
“Many smaller local businesses are struggling and they must be supported and not destroyed by this level of taxation. We want to encourage local area traders, vitality and commercial activity in our towns. Rates must be progressive and equitable, enabling small local businesses to survive and our towns to thrive.”