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Plea for commercial rates reduction

Monday, July 28 13:00:39

The Director of the Small Firms Association, Patricia Callan, has called on all local authorities to vote to decrease commercial rates on business.

She said that up to 12 Councils are reported to be implementing up to the maximum 15pc reduction allowed in Local Property Tax (LPT) next year, as they have will have sufficient or excess funds.

"However, this exclusive focus on the LPT by local councils, bears no reflection on the significant cost pressures that small businesses are facing, with many still paying boom time commercial rates. Currently business contributes more than E1,600 million a year to the cost of local government through commercial rates and water charges. This is a substantial burden for small companies and must be paid regardless of employment headcount, turnover or profitability," said Ms Callan.

"Business funds about one-third of the cost of local government through the commercial rates system and other local measures such as development levies, water, and waste charges. We recognise the role played by local authorities in providing essential services, but the costs are too high, and there is scope for savings. Official figures show that between 2008 and 2013 the commercial rates contribution increased from 28pc to 35pc. Reductions are now long overdue to allow business to grow and compete, and to support growth in jobs."

"We need to see a fair and balanced approach to local government funding, which sees business pay its share for services it actually receives primarily on a user pays principle, with the domestic sector treated equivalently and Central Government making up the balance for broader services. The business community needs to believe that the local authorities are working on its behalf and therefore the SFA contends that a Business Users Forum should be established in each local authority area to improve consultation with and responsiveness to business," added Ms Callan.

For more visit: www.businessworld.ie