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One-third of firms can't afford to pay rates bill

ONE in three small businesses say they cannot afford to pay rates to local authorities this year.

Rates are threatening the survival of 40pc of small businesses, a new survey claims, with three-quarters of business owners saying the system of imposing the charges is "unfair".

Commercial rates are paid to city and county councils to cover the cost of providing street lighting, sewerage systems, roads and other essential services.

But the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, which represents 8,500 companies, said rates had risen by 47pc in the past decade, and one in three (28pc) will be unable to pay their rates bill for 2011.

Irish Independent