Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Local Government Rates and Other Matters Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages
As the Minister of State identified, the issue arises in respect of retail premises. I am not an expert on local government and, unlike certain other Senators, did not come to the Seanad from that area. Some of the shops which were visited were told they possibly should not have identified themselves as retail premises. The shops were just trying to be honest in their engagement. There must be some sort of upper and lower limits on what is seen as profit. The annual €1,600 profit turnover of the charity shop to which I referred is being swept up with the larger charity shops which pay lots of wages and so on from their profits, but they are different situations. There needs to be some sort of communication to or guidelines for local authorities regarding an upper limit on what is seen as profit and a consideration of the ultimate goal of small sums such as that to which I referred. Is the ultimate goal to pay a wage or employ someone new or is it a charitable goal? In the case to which I referred, the outcome is charitable - the organisation runs a youth service - even though it is a retail operation. It is about the level of flexibility of local authorities in terms of how they frame what is a retail business and the consideration of its profit. Can we give them more discretion in terms of how they determine what profit-making means in real terms?