Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Questions (205)

Michael Healy-Rae


205. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government on behalf of Early Childhood Ireland, regarding commercial rates, which are of serious concern and stress for the services in Ireland, and in view of the fact that they are levied unfairly and inconsistently on early childhood care and education services and pose a serious threat to the sustainability of a sector that currently employs in a region of 22,500 staff, the discrepancies that exist in the percentage of services by county of commercial rates, which vary from 11% of the notified services in one county to 71% in another; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41414/13]

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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 Commissioner of Valuation has sole responsibility for all valuation matters.  With regard to the application of rates to child-care facilities, where child-care provision is within a community facility, operating in non-profit capacity, commercial rates do not generally apply.

The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority. The annual rate on valuation (ARV), which is applied to the valuation of each property, determined by the Valuation Office, to obtain the amount payable in rates, is decided by the elected members of each local authority in the annual budget and its determination is a reserved function. The factors that influence local authority members' decisions on the ARV include the level of services to be provided by the local authority and the income available from all other sources to fund these services. Therefore, elected members adopt the ARV that they consider necessary to provide the range of services for the communities, including businesses, in their area. I recognise that these are difficult economic times for many businesses and I am continuing to keep all matters relating to rates under regular consideration in my Department.