As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I am very aware of the serious impacts on businesses and consumers of high costs. It is important that consumers and businesses can obtain services at a reasonable and fair price.
I have no role with regard to the setting of commercial rates. The rates paid by individual rate-payers is a factor of the valuation carried out by the independent Commissioner for Valuation and the Annual Rate of Valuation (ARV), decided by local authority members. The Government has consistently encouraged local authorities to show restraint in terms of ARV increases, in order to support local businesses.
In terms of supports for business funding for my Department in 2020 will be close to €1 billion, a 2% increase on 2019. This will enable continued support for businesses by the Department and enterprise agencies. The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are the first-stop-shop service assisting in delivering business growth and jobs for the small & micro-enterprise sector. The LEOs undertake a number of activities to support enterprise growth and development. Enterprise Ireland is focused on helping export-focused clients across all sectors grow. Brexit will pose particular difficulties for SMEs and a suite of supports, including the Brexit loan scheme and the future growth loan scheme, are already in place.