I’ve called for a review of the council rates system in order to prevent the ‘falling rates base’ in the local business community.
There’s a need to introduce a scheme which offers discounted business rates to new business owners in order to stimulate economic growth in Donegal’s towns and villages.
There is a need for a scheme which would incentivize business set-ups by offering a reduction in rates for the first year, for new businesses that are not in direct competition with others. The government must get town centre offices and shops reoccupied and at present the law prohibits councils to reduce rates for any reason except when a company shuts down and the rate payer can negotiate.
Until such units are occupied then confidence will not return.
In my view, the way council currently charge rates must be reviewed in the light of the falling rates base in the business community. At present councils cannot offer incentives for new businesses to set up by charging a reduced rate.
It would be better for the council to get some rates and give a fledgling business a chance if a system was introduced that allows local authorities offer a discount for an initial period. The rating system is so out of date and from another era entirely. Unless we can devise a system of rates that incentivises business rather than set up roadblocks to progress, then the prospect of stimulating economic growth in the towns and villages of Donegal will disappear.
This is an issue I will be actively campaigning for and encouraging the Labour Party to pursue in the future. It is a matter of national importance that we incentivise and stimulate business growth in the rural economy in particular.