Local Government Bill Must Produce Savings without Increasing Costs to Business
Chambers Ireland has today welcomed the publication of the Local Government Bill. However, they have warned that there must be no resulting increase in costs to business.
Speaking this afternoon, Seán Murphy Chambers Ireland Deputy Chief Executive, said “We have consistently supported the reform of Local Government and recognise the considerable savings produced by this sector to date. The publication of this Bill is another step towards a more streamlined and sustainable model of Local Government.”
“However, we have concerns about areas where Town Councils are to be abolished and replaced by municipalities to be integrated into County Councils which have higher rates. Towns where this issue arises include Dungarvan, Ennis, Letterkenny, Mallow, Midleton and Westport. The Department of the Environment’s recent guidance document proposes that, in such areas, there should be a period of adjustment of between three and ten years. We believe this period should be as long as possible to allow businesses to adapt to the costs resulting from increased rates.”
“Furthermore, the funding formula for a General Municipal Allocation includes a perverse incentive for municipalities to increase the cost of car parking. This will only serve to harm retailers and other businesses located within town centres that do so much for local employment and local communities.”
“Local Government reform is very welcome. For many years it has been the business community that has shouldered the responsibility for funding local services through the rates system. Reform must ease this burden rather than add to it,” he concluded.