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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (317)

Seán Haughey

Question:

317. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will extend the targeted commercial rates waiver scheme to other targeted businesses, including hospitality reliant businesses such as dry cleaning, which have been more severely impacted than the businesses currently included in the waiver scheme; if he will consider the fact that these hospitality reliant businesses have been devastated in a downturn in the hospitality sector due to wedding and restaurant cancellations and to the prevalence of online meetings and the practice of working from home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61746/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Government recouped €729m to local authorities to fund the cost of a rates waiver in 2020. This meant that for eligible businesses their commercial rates were funded by Government for nine months of 2020. €480m was allocated by Government to fund the cost of the nine month waiver this year. These are unprecedented measures, which offered support to businesses and financial certainty to local authorities.

The Government, in Budget 2022, announced a more targeted commercial rates waiver for Q4 2021 to cover the hospitality and tourism sectors and €62.3m was allocated by Government for this purpose. On 3 December an extension of the current targeted waiver covering the hospitality and tourism sectors was announced. These waivers are intended to assist specific sectors as they continue to be severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions beyond September 2021 and need support to get back up and running.

Local authorities levy rates on 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 Acts 2001 to 2015. Valuation lists identify categories of commercial property. Because of this, commercial rates and consequently eligibility for the rates waiver schemes, are based on property categories. Eligibility for the Q4 waiver is mainly based on hospitality and tourism property categories.

Government has the challenge of balancing competing demands for finite resources. The Q4 2001 and Q1 2002 targeted rates waivers are separate, standalone schemes and in recognition of the resources available, many businesses that benefited from previous waivers are no longer eligible. As with all public health measures and associated supports, the waiver of commercial rates will be kept under review. However, there are no current plans to extend the scope of the commercial rates waiver.

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