I propose to take Questions Nos. 78 and 111 together.
Recognising the difficulties faced by businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Programme for Government – “Our Shared Future” committed to set out how commercial rates would be treated for the remainder of 2020. One of the earliest priorities of Minister O'Brien and I was to secure funding to provide a waiver of commercial rates for businesses impacted by the pandemic, while simultaneously supporting local authorities.
€600m was allocated by Government to fund the cost of a six-month waiver of rates from 27 March to 27 September 2020. The Government subsequently announced a three month extension of the waiver until 27 December 2020, at an additional cost of €300m. This brings to €900m the financial support to fund the cost of a waiver of commercial rates, which is an unprecedented measure that offers support to businesses and certainty to local authorities.
Full details of payments to date are available at the following link:
The local authority budget process for 2021 is now underway. In that context, Minister O'Brien and I recently wrote to each local authority to advise that, in light of the fact that the future trajectory of Covid-19 is unclear, it is not currently possible for Government to make open-ended commitments in respect of commercial rates or other income pressures that may arise in 2021. However, as has been the case since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, my Department will continue to engage regularly and constructively with the local government sector and with individual local authorities on the financial impacts of the pandemic and other matters arising.