The Government’s decision to casually abandon high profile plans to legislate on upward only rent reviews is one of the clearest demonstrations yet of the utter cynicism at the heart of Fine Gael’s strategy to achieve power earlier this year, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Small Business John McGuinness TD.

Deputy McGuinness commented, “There are going to be a lot of very angry retailers today who voted for Fine Gael and Labour on the basis of the very clear commitment they made to legislate against upward only rent reviews.

“The Labour Party specifically stated in their manifesto that it would “enact the Labour’s Party legislation to abolish upward-only rent reviews for all commercial leases, as a matter of urgent priority for the Dáil”.  Fine Gael promised that “we will pass legislation to give all tenants the right to have their commercial rents reviewed in 2011 irrespective of any up-ward only or other review clauses”.

“The well worn wheeze that these were just party promises won’t work in this case.  In the Programme for Government, both parties agree that “We will legislate for upward only rent reviews for existing leases”.

“Today those promises, both before and after the election, have been completely and utterly abandoned. Instead of promised help, already struggling retailers have actually been hit by a 2% VAT increase.  Where is the job strategy that the government claim underpins their budget?  Today’s double whammy against retailers will cost jobs, not create them.

He concluded, “Crocodile tears from Minister Noonan and Minister Shatter will not hide this latest betrayal by the Government dominated by them.  My colleague Michael McGrath TD pointed out that this Government has “raised the white flag” after months of uncertainty and damage to the rental market.  The two Ministers should apologise to the voters they misled.”