Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
1314. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the commercial rates alleviation measures he has introduced in response to the Covid-19 crisis; if local authorities in counties Laois and Offaly have applied for such supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5637/20]
1316. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if primary or secondary legislation will have to be enacted to operationalise a three month commercial rates waiver for Covid-19 impacted businesses as announced on 2 May 2020 (details supplied); and the cost of this waiver. [5673/20]
1377. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his plans to give a full moratorium from commercial rates to those businesses that are likely to be seriously impacted for at least a year such as hospitality, tourism and certain personal services such as hairdressers and so on to enable them to survive and rebuild their businesses after Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6807/20]
1378. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the businesses that can avail of the commercial rates waiver; if it is just reserved for businesses that have been forced to close due to Covid-19 restrictions; if businesses that have partially closed will be able to avail of the waiver; if businesses that have not been forced to close but nevertheless have experienced a significant drop in turnover will be able to avail of the waiver; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6819/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1304, 1314, 1316, 1377 and 1378 together.
The levying and collection of rates are legally matters for each individual local authority. Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes.
In order to support the local government sector, my Department is continuing to keep local authority income, expenditure and cash flow generally under review and will continue to work with all local authorities on both collective and individual issues arising. In addition, my Department has engaged with the Departments of the Taoiseach, Public Expenditure and Reform, Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Employment Affairs and Social Protection, and Transport, Tourism and Sport in relation to commercial rates and local authority funding issues, as well as the role that local authorities may be in a position to play in supporting economic recovery.
To that end on 2 May 2020, Government announced that a waiver of commercial rates will apply to all businesses that have been forced to close due to public health requirements, from 27 March 2020, for a three-month period. These costs will be met by the Exchequer; the proposal is expected to cost €260m. The administration by local authorities of this measure will be by way of a credit in lieu of commercial rates. My Department is currently preparing further guidance on the scope and application of the waiver for local authorities. Individual applications by local authorities will not be required. No new primary or secondary legislation is needed to administer this measure.
The position will be reviewed at a later date as part of a wider review of options to support enterprise and employment, and associated local authority funding implications, once the unwinding of public health restrictions has advanced.