The conditions under which local councils have written off more than €500m worth of commercial rates are not consistent and the Government should create a rational commercial rates system in which just one Department is responsible, according to Fine Gael TD John Deasy.
The Waterford TD said he believed the current system in which at least three government departments are involved as dysfunctional and not business friendly.
Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Deasy referred to Wednesday’s front page of the Irish Examiner which showed many councils across the country have been forced to write off over €500m in rates during the recession because so many businesses had collapsed.
Mr Deasy said when local authorities did not raise sufficient moneys, it was the Exchequer and, by extension, the taxpayer who must bail them out.
“There are many councils throughout the country with chronically large debts. This is an issue that cannot be tackled by the local authorities alone. It is also vital for the Government to construct a rational commercial rates framework that makes sense for the times in which we are living. That is not necessarily the case at present,” he said.
He said central government had not provided councils with clear direction and the country has ended up with an inconsistent pattern of write-downs and write-offs. He said ultimately the Government Departments of Jobs, Environment, Public Expenditure & Reform and the Valuation Office should meet and agree on one department to handle all commercial rates or valuation issues within the Government.
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