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9th April 2020 | Press Releases

Government must do more to help struggling businesses survive the Covid-19 crisis – Greens

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Green Party spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and TD for Wicklow Steven Matthews, has called for local authority rates to be written off for a six month period in order to assist those businesses which are struggling to survive the Covid-19 crisis.

Following calls for further action to be taken to assist businesses through the Covid-19 crisis, Steven Matthews TD said: “The raft of measures in recent weeks to support businesses has been welcome, but after talking to business owners in my own area and across the country, it is clear that the existing measures will not be sufficient in many cases.

“It will be necessary for the Government to supplement this income for local authorities across Ireland in order for them to continue providing vital services both during and after this crisis. As a former Councillor, I know first-hand the importance of commercial rates for the budget of the Council and this resulting shortfall must be reflected in any Government decision.

“In order for this scheme to be applied fairly, it will be necessary for the Government to engage with stakeholders including IBEC, and representatives from Local Authorities, to ensure that qualification for rate cancellation only applies to businesses adversely affected by the crisis.

“Deferring commercial rates is only moving the problem down the road. For many businesses, they have seen their turnover drop to zero.  Once they are able to return to work, the prospect of facing a large debt to the local authority would be a further burden.

“All avenues must be examined when it comes to supporting enterprise as we will be heavily reliant on businesses to kick start our economy in the coming months,” he said.