Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Senator Marc Mac Sharry has called for an urgent review of the commercial rates system following revelations that Councils will lose almost €22m in revenue as a result of the current rates regime. The system also forces small businesses to fork out for high rates fees, while big utility companies are seeing their bills reduced.
Senator Mac Sharry commented, “The current valuations system is completely unfair and is putting small local businesses under a huge financial burden. I have been contacted by businesses owners in Sligo and Donegal who are at the end of their tether. Why are smaller businesses expected to fork out for massive rates bills every year when big utility companies like ESB, An Post and Eir have theirs reduced.
“Is it any wonder that there are boarded up businesses in villages and towns across the North West? Anyone wanting to set up a business is being penalised by punitive rates and charges, and those who have managed to keep their businesses afloat are struggling to pay these levies.
“Recently, the Valuation Commissioners revalued the properties owned by public utilities, such as the ESB, An Post and Eir as well as telecom providers such as Vodafone and 3, for the purposes of paying commercial rates in each Local Authority. The revaluations were notified to local authorities in some cases where the authorities had already decided on their 2016 budgets.
“However commercial businesses are still paying charges which are based on pre-crash property values. This means these businesses are being charged huge sums of money based on a flawed model. There is no question that these businesses are paying over the odds for their rates and that is simply unfair.
“By contrast, the so-called ‘global valuation’ of public utilities is undertaken every five years, despite the fact that these semi-state companies do not have to contend with the commercial realities that local businesses do.
“This valuation system is in urgent need of a complete overhaul. We need to see a fairer system, which reflects current business environment instead basing charges on historical property values”, concluded Senator Mac Sharry.