Cllr Jimmy Harte Labour candidate for the forthcoming general election is proposing that the incoming government look at revising the rates for businesses to take account of the difficulties face by rural businesses .As it stands rates are calculated on an archaic system and there is a need to revise the method of valuations.
The recent threatened closure of small retail businesses in rural areas in Milford and Inishowen not to mention Letterkenny will be replicated across the county unless we deal with the prohibitive rates issues facing small rural towns.
While I accept that the knock on effect of such a measure is the reduction in income for the local council I believe that the shortfall could be made up by introducing an increase in rates on holiday homes. This money could be ring fenced for local businesses that are struggling to survive.
I have spoken to several small business owners who are on the verge of closure and have been in business over 50 years and need assistance to get through these tough times.
This would ensure that the money for services is not lost and more importantly that the funding would be allocated specifically for that particular area Above all it would guarantee the protection of small businesses which are integral to the economic and social fabric of small rural towns.