Fianna Fáil Sligo Leitrim TD Marc Mac Sharry has called on Government to grant a derogation on Commercial Rates increases being levied on business owners.
Under statutory rules non domestic properties throughout the country are having their Net Annual Value reassessed leading in many cases to very substantial increases in Commercial Rates liabilities. In recent months business owners in County Leitrim have received their renewed Rates liability notifications while business owners in Sligo have this week started receiving theirs.
Mac Sharry said " It is imperative that the Government immediately move to introduce a derogation on Commercial Rates increases for hard pressed businesses. Ultimately what is required is reform of the methodology and criteria used by the national valuations office in calculating Commercial Rates for businesses. The existing criteria is based on a mix of international models predominantly focused on the rental income that a property could command at a given point in time. In this instance it is during 2015. Since then Ireland is faced with the uncertainty of Brexit, the implications of the Apple tax ruling on international investment and the continuing exclusivity of a recovery based in the greater Dublin area alone. This has and continues to have a serious impact on business. With uncertainty around these matters set to continue indefinitely struggling businesses will simply not be able to meet any additional costs.
"Notwithstanding the timing and commercial uncertainty the current methodology and criteria is far too blunt an instrument. One size does not fit all in any area or even street for that matter. Business type, levels of turnover and profit or loss are critical in the practical ability of any business to survive and pay increasing costs for what in all essence amounts to a minutes suite of practical services. For this reason the valuation act 2001 as amended in 2015 must be reformed to enable a consultation based formalisation of a new and fairer method to determine Commercial Rates. Reform must take adequate cognisance of business type, seasonality, turnover, profit/loss, overhead outlay and the ability to pay. In addition the need to support employment throughout the Country must be prioritised in any method applied to the determination of Commercial Rates.
"The so called recovery has by no means taken hold in Counties such as Sligo and Leitrim and struggling business owners must be supported to allow them to survive and build to support jobs in our area. The two tiered recovery is most visible in the North West where the almost countless number vacant premises is tangible proof of the absence of recovery and the struggle most enterprises are faced with.
"I am therefore calling on the Taoiseach to acknowledge the difficult reality facing all businesses and grant a Commercial Rates Revaluation Rate increase derogation for a period of years to allow for the long overdue reform of the calculation criteria to ensure fairness and affordability to businesses who provide critically important employment to our people"
" It is time Ireland as a nation devised a Commercial Rates strategy based on the reality facing our business owners relevant to our needs and our capabilities. International models may work else where but it's time we pioneered the introduction of a fair affordable system that works to support jobs in our country."
To read more about the debate surrounding commercial rates see this week's Leitrim Observer.