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
I propose not to accept amendment No. 66 because the proposed amendment would not have any effect on rates levied in 2020, as the bulk of provision in local government rates and other matters after 2019 have not yet been commenced, and were never intended to come into effect in 2020. Rates levied in 2020 were not levied under the 2019 Act but under the original rates legislation, which remains in effect. Notwithstanding this, and given the issues as raised by Senator Horkan, along with the unprecedented nature of the challenges arising from the Covid-19 situation and the challenges therefore being faced by many ratepayers, the Government has agreed with local authorities that they should agree to defer rates payments due from the most immediately impacted businesses, primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, until end of June. The measure will be implemented by each local authority in its own area and was announced by the Government last Friday. Any ratepayer who has had to close temporarily or significantly curtail operations during the Covid-19 period should contact his or her local authority with regard to any rates payments falling due to the period to the end of June. Local authorities have been asked to publicise this arrangement and put in place dedicated contact arrangements for ratepayers.
The Senator is correct that these rate payments are a very important source of income for local authorities. The Government will have to put in place measures to compensate them for this announcement. As a precursor to this an advance payment of local property tax, LPT, of €136 million is being made to the local government sector next week.