FG 'think-in' to debate tax credits for recession-hit towns
Tax incentives aimed at reviving the country's most recession-hit towns will be debated by the Fine Gael parliamentary party next month.
The proposals, which are gaining traction among ministers, are seen as being essential in Fine Gael's efforts to woo the support of rural voters.
Backbench TDs are pushing for tax credits for businesses, first-time buyers and owner-occupiers who revive dormant properties in market towns.
Similarly, in the Labour Party, TDs including Rural Affairs Minister Ann Phelan are to table proposals aimed at providing new incentives for community groups that refurbish run-down dwellings.
"There is no doubt we need to explore all options aimed at reviving the high street," Ms Phelan told the Irish Independent.
The play by both parties to introduce incentives for small towns will form a significant plank of both parties' general election manifestos.
In an email to Fine Gael TDs and senators, Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin suggested imposing higher commercial rates on large supermarket giants, such as Tesco, in order to subsidise smaller businesses.
"It is important that tax incentives are aimed at owner occupiers with the possibility of special incentives for first-time buyers and not be developer- nor investor-led," she said.
"There is an argument for an additional rates burden on the large multiples allowing the subsidisation of smaller retailers, particularly in smaller towns," added Ms Mulherin.
She highlighted the so-called 'Tesco Levy' model in the UK, which aimed to help the high street with a levy on large supermarkets that is then used to help small businesses.