Tuesday, 18 May 2021
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
I have no doubt as to the Minister of State's commitment on this issue but the shift is going to be very dramatic over the next decade. The pandemic has simply accelerated the speed at which we engage online. Travel agents, for example, are very much a minority, with more than 99% of travel transactions booked online. If we are to protect the retail experience, we cannot have a system of funding local government that is based simply on the size of the shop floor.
This has been a problem in rural areas. Large rural pubs, for instance, have been subjected to very high levels of commercial rates and that has threatened their viability. It is simply about levelling the playing field. If somebody is selling something, they should be contributing in the same way to our communities. I appreciate this is a broader taxation question but it is completely unfair that the bookseller on a main street or high street, who contributes directly to the local community, has to pay commercial rates, yet a large multinational does not have to pay for the same services.