Hogan looks for massive rates cut
COMMERCIAL rates could be axed by up to 10pc as Environment Minister Phil Hogan warned that cost savings from local government reform must be passed on to small traders.
Mr Hogan also confirmed to the Irish Independent that he is ordering a national system of commercial rate harmonisation to end boundary squabbles which have stymied development and job creation.
His vow came after Irish chambers of commerce and even a District Court judge expressed concern at the ongoing impact that high commercial rates were having on traders.
Ireland has over 200,000 small enterprises, with the sector the bedrock of Irish retail and job creation. However, small firm failures had soared to five a day by the end of 2012.
Experts blamed poor consumer confidence, high costs and the difficulty in small firms securing finance.
"There will be no more debate. . . Over a period of time we will have harmonisation of rates, which means that boundary extensions won't be as important," Mr Hogan said.
"One of the problems. . . over the past few years has been the extent to which one local authority went up to the boundary of another in order to harness the potential for commercial rates of that authority."
Such problems have led to rows over boundary extensions. It has also led some councils to deliberately undercut smaller rivals.
"That was bad planning and we are getting over that by this new system," Mr Hogan said.
Mr Hogan said it was critical that the financial burden on small traders be eased so they can contribute to economic recovery and job creation.