Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
1047. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he has considered requesting the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to remove commercial rates for empty places of entertainment and warehousing of event equipment. [11453/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1045 and 1047 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 accordance with the provisions of the Valuation Acts. In certain circumstance, vacant properties may receive a partial waiver of rates, at the discretion of the relevant local authority.
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 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, the 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 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.
Government has also decided that the position following the end of the 3 month waiver 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.