Seanad debates

Friday, 27 March 2020

An Bille um Bearta Éigeandála ar mhaithe le Leas an Phobail (Covid-19) 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages


12:00 pm

Photo of Gerry HorkanGerry Horkan (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I move amendment No. 66:

In page 39, after line 35, to insert the following:
“PART 10

Amendment of section 4 of Local Government Rates and Other Matters Act 2019
34. The Local Government Rates and Other Matters Act 2019 is amended by the insertion of the following new section after section 4:
“4A. (1) In this section—
‘relevant property’ has the same meaning as it has in the Valuation Act 2001;

‘emergency period’ means the period beginning on 26 March 2020 and

ending on 31 May 2020.

(2) Where a relevant property is occupied by a person engaged in a business and the business of that person has been adversely affected by Covid-19 to a significant extent, the emergency period shall not be reckonable in the calculation of the rate levied by a rating authority in the local financial year.

(3) When calculating the amount of the rate to be levied in accordance with the formula provided for in section 4(2) the rating authority shall deduct from the amount calculated as ordinarily payable a sum equivalent to that proportion of the rate attributable to the emergency period.”.”.
This amendments asks that where businesses can demonstrate they have been adversely affected they would not be charged rates - as opposed to just a deferral of rates - from 26 March until 31 May. There is, obviously, a knock-on effect to this. The local authorities would need to be compensated for the revenue they would be down. Clearly, I would not want the local authorities to be at a loss. Some businesses will not be as adversely affected as other businesses but there will be properties that are very severely affected by this pandemic crisis. This amendment means they would not have to pay rates subsequently for the period they are shut or during which their business revenues are damaged, which affects their capacity to survive. Equally, we would need some protection or mechanism that would not leave the local authorities with a big hole in their revenues for the April-May rates.


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