Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Robert Troy TD has published a Bill to introduce a rates moratorium for struggling businesses.
The Bill allows the Government to designate businesses impacted by COVID-19 exempt from Local Authority rates for up to 12 months. Businesses currently pay up to €1.5bn in rates each year. Current Government plans have seen a deferral of rates, up until May, to be implemented by each individual Local Authority on a case by case basis.
Commenting on the Bill Deputy Troy stated, “First and foremost this is a public health crisis, but it also has unprecedented economic consequences. The economy is in deep freeze for the foreseeable future but businesses are still facing crippling bills. We need to give struggling businesses a chance by taking financial pressure off them and giving them the space to get going again once this crisis has passed.
“The current government policy for a three-month rates deferral are nowhere near enough for sectors that are in complete free fall and are being introduced ad hoc by each Local Authority. We need a longer period of up to 12 months and clear legislative guidance on eligibility to provide complete certainty.
“We need to show the same type of ambition and action undertaken to secure our health to supporting our businesses through an unbelievably difficult period. We can’t be afraid of bold actions to save jobs and protect livelihoods.
“This Bill would allow the government to designate affected businesses and give them a break for up to a year from paying rates. Other businesses that are doing well would continue to pay rates to help fund vital local services. Combined with an aggressive stimulus package this will help business such as hotels, restaurants and pubs to survive then bounce back. I am calling on all parties to support the Bill and proceed with it as quickly as possible,” concluded Deputy Troy.