Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Small Business, John McGuinness TD, says his new Bill will radically reform the outdated rates system, which is in need of a comprehensive overhaul.
Deputy McGuinness has produced the Local Government (Rates and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014, which puts forward a number of initiatives to lift some of the constraints on SMEs in towns and cities throughout the country.
“The rates system in Ireland is completely outdated and in need of radical reform. The current rates system dates back to 1838 and in the 176 years since then there has been no adequate overhaul of how businesses pay their local rates. Many local authorities in the country have frozen or increased rates since the recession began, it is crippling local businesses and preventing new enterprises from setting-up.
“My Bill introduces one uniform mechanism for the calculation of rates in Ireland. Currently there are 15 different ways of calculating local rates, which is unsustainable, over-complicated and acts as a barrier for new start-up businesses.
“One thing that SMEs and potential businesses need is certainty. Entrepreneurs need to be definite on how their local rates are calculated and more importantly that they are fair.
The Bill also incentivises new start-ups by offering reduced rates for their first year in operation.
“The Bill also provides a fair and equitable refund scheme for unoccupied properties and sets out in detail the circumstances when the landlord and tenant are required to pay the relevant rates.
“Another important aspect of the Bill is the provision of a coherent mechanism for the review of rates. Businesses need to know that in a downturn that there is way for their rates to be reviewed.
“The Government has been high on rhetoric but lacking in action in relation to the rates system, this Bill directly addresses many of the issues and I would urge the Government to adopt them.”