Chambers Ireland has called on Government to introduce measures to support business growth and job creation in town centres and villages. The call comes following a presentation to the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Government can support the revival of town centres in a number of areas including:
- Reduce the cost of doing business in town centres;
- Provide adequate supports to those doing business in town centres;
- Other High Street development measures; and
- Fair public procurement policies that do not discriminate against SMEs.
Speaking this afternoon, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said “If our economic recovery is to be successful, it must be sustainable at a local level. Town centres have consistently suffered over the last number of years due to a combination of out of town shopping centres, excessive car parking charges and the high cost of doing business. Government can introduce a number of relatively simple measures which would have a great benefit for business in town centres.”
“We recommend the introduction of a targeted rates reduction for companies, located within town centres, which provide much needed employment and contribute to the quality of life in these areas. Car parking costs must be applied strategically to increase footfall in certain areas, thereby supporting businesses and jobs. We also urge any Local Authority considering a 15% reduction in the Local Property Tax to have a plan in place to cover these costs and not look to business to foot the bill” he said.
“Local Authorities should also be encouraged to work even more closely with business organisations for the benefit of the locality. Chambers across the country have a long history of successful collaboration with Local Authorities in areas such as sustainable business, job creation, tourism and economic development and new Local Authority structures must embrace this capability.”
Commenting, Martin Doyle, President of Wexford Chamber added “Town and village centres are vital to our sense of community and urgent action must be taken to support the rate-paying businesses that do so much to support them.”