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Duff calls for property rates link with turnover

A REQUEST for an international bank to service demand for property loans in the Irish market was called for by Ron Duff, incoming president of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers at the group's annual conference last weekend.

"I think the opportunity is now ripe for such a European or global institution to move in here. The Irish people have been clearly let down by the banks and it's time to shout 'stop'. There is no point in the Government subjecting citizens to more harsh austerity if one sector of society, the bankers, are continued to be allowed to do what they like when they like," he added.

Mr Duff also warned that commercial property rates have become a "silent killer" of small and medium sized enterprises which are being forced to shut up shop on a daily basis.

Criticising the slow pace of rateable revaluation, he said more staff are required and there must be a link to the reality of the markets including rent and turnover.

"Unless a proper system is put in place, businesses will continue to go out of existence and that will mean less revenue for the Government, job losses and loss of morale with the economy driven further into the bowels of the earth," he said.

He also pointed out that inconsistency between rating for similar businesses puts some business at a disadvantage. "If we truly want to bring lifeblood and activity into towns and villages which are genuinely struggling, we need to change our rates scheme to reflect that. The reality is that those retailers which are out of town are in a position to pay higher rates given they have huge car parking space and customers go to these centres.

"The Valuation Bill currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas represents a once-off opportunity to bring about radical reform of the rates systems. I am appealing to the Minister for Public Enterprise & Reform, Brendan Howlin to introduce an amendment in this Bill which will allow for flexibility so that in future rates will take the level of turnover into account.

Irish Independent