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Rates freeze would see 'return to bustling main streets'

Call on newly-elected councillors to drive recovery in “busy main streets”.

Image: samboal/photocallireland/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH SMALL and medium enterprises association has called for a three year freeze on commercial rates across the country to protect SMEs.

The trade lobby group said that the move was vital to protect town centres, and called on all newly elected councillors to work on a reduction of local authorities cost base, which would allow a reduction in current charges.

ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said:

“The incoming councillors must ensure that they are adequately briefed on the range of issues facing the businesses in their area. Their priority must be to reduce administration costs so that commercial rates and local charges can be curtailed.”

A new approach

Fielding said that a new departure was needed in the funding of local government.

“The burden placed on the business community by the current system is not equitable,efficient, effective or economical. This will allow SMEs, the key players in local economies, to survive and maintain local jobs.”

The call comes after retail sales for April, published yesterday, revealed a drop of 0.9 per cent in volume and 0.8 per cent in value. Despite the drop in the month, across the year the level has still increased by 6.8 per cent in volume and 4.4 per cent in value.

Fielding said that a priority for councillors myst be to “create a long-term vision and work towards a return to bustling main streets rather than the high vacancy rates and poor footfall currently in place”.

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About the author:

Jack Horgan-Jones

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