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Bosses urge rate rethink as crisis bites

STRUGGLING businesses are urging Dublin's four local authorities to cut commercial rates in their 2012 budgets.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin county councils all meet in December to strike a commercial rate, while Dublin City Council meets on November 28, amid a warning that four out of 10 businesses could go to the wall if the issue of local authority reform and funding is not tackled.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce is urging its members to write to local councillors and Dublin TDs to get a 2pc reduction in commercial rates for next year.

Businesses are scrutinising "every element of their cost base to identify areas where savings can be made in order to remain in business," the chamber said.

A sample letter provided by the chamber asks elected representatives to support employment in their electoral area by voting for a 2pc reduction, saying that commercial rates are one of their primary operating challenges.



Crippling

"I believe this is a reasonable ask, and is achievable by continuing to improve the operational efficiency and effectiveness of our local authority," it says.

ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, demanded that the Government tackle the issue of commercial rates "once and for all," saying they are crippling thousands of small businesses countrywide.

"The burden of commercial rates on businesses is excessive, with many companies put to the pin of their collar in attempting to meet their liabilities," ISME chief executive Mark Fielding, said.

In many cases, businesses were being forced to reduce employment to make the savings necessary to pay their commercial rates bill.

"This is extremely unfair, as the business sector is the only sector required to pay rates which have increased by a massive 47pc on average since 2000, well in excess of inflation," he added.

There was no correlation between the profitability of a business and the level of commercial rates paid, he said.

mlavery@herald.ie


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