Councillors say More Could Be Done to Support Small Businesses

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cork County Councillors say the Government could do more to support entrepreneurs and small businesses who “improve, extend and reconstruct” their premises.
The Local Authority is to write to Minister Pascal Donohoe to amend the Valuations Act 2001 to assist stores walking a monetary tight rope.
The move comes following the tabling of a Motion by Cllr Noel Collins at a recent Sitting of Cork County Council.
The Midleton based Cllr said the current system is undemocratic, outdated and unconstitutional.
He said re-valuations are putting pressure on businesses who have carried out works at enormous expense, while big businesses are given an unfair advantage.
“Cheque book tycoons can avail of Corporation Tax Relief and, in some cases, rates relief for a ten-year period.”
“The golden handshake is given to the tycoon, coupled with tax and other financial concessions but few, if any such concessions, are given to the small developer” commented Cllr Collins.
Commercial rates are set by the Valuations Office which is controlled by Central Government through legislation. The Local Authority is obliged to collect the rates set by the Valuations Office.
Once a business increases in size, it must be reassessed and a new rate determined.
A business annual rates bill is derived by the net annual value (NAV) assessed on the commercial property, multiplied by the annual rate on valuation (AVR), set by the Local Authority each year.
The Independent Cllr said “there is an appeals system, but rarely is there a reduction in the rateable valuation.
€123.7 million in commercial rates was collected by Cork County Council last year.
The figure reflects almost 40% of the Authority’s total revenue, and an increase of €30million since 2010.
Mr Collins said where a small trader has carried out improvements, their rate should be frozen and their premises not re-evaluated for ten years.
“We all like to see the modernisation of these shops, but when there is a heavy penalty for doing so it will discourage many small traders from carrying out improvements.”

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