Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (517)

James Bannon


517. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to change the legislation in order to introduce a tiered system of rates, which is needed to help support small businesses, where the present system of percentage reductions in all council budgets, 2008 to 2012 favour the large ratepayers as much as the small ones; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8624/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001.

The Valuation Office is responsible for calculating the rateable valuation of premises and the type, size and location of the premises would be a factor in arriving at the rateable valuation. The Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV), which is set by the local authority, is then applied to that rateable valuation. The Valuation Act 2001 is a matter for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

I am acutely aware of the pressures on small and medium sized businesses at the present time. Local authorities have been asked by my Department, by way of a circular letter, to exercise restraint or, where possible, reduce commercial rates and local charges for 2013. Local authorities have responded well to such requests in recent years.

I will continue to keep the approach to rates by local authorities under active review, and am determined that every avenue will be pursued to optimise efficiency and contain costs in the local government sector.