Childcare facilities must pay rates arrears says Cork County Council

Community-run childcare facilities will have to pay rates arrears, Cork County Council insisted yesterday, despite new regulations that permit non-profit companies to apply to the Valuation Office to seek exemption of rates in future years.

Childcare facilities must pay rates arrears says Cork County Council

Council chief executive, Tim Lucey, said 2015 rates would be waived, if exemptions were granted by the year-end.

But he rejected demands from councillors to write off outstanding payments.

Mr Lucey said it would be unfair to community-childcare companies that had paid in full to see others, in arrears, have debts written off and he would not do it.The rates-collection office, he said, would deal sympathetically with any organisation that still owed money.

Calling for a write-off, Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) said the Government had decided it was the responsibility of individual local authorities to deal with the situation as they saw fit. “These are all voluntary, non-profit making groups and I didn’t think they should be paying anyway.”

Cllr Tim Lombard (FG) said: “It was unfortunate, over the years, that they were brought into the (rates) valuation issue. We need to step into the breach. It’s the parents who will otherwise have to pay for this.”

Cllr Ian Doyle (FF) said rates arrears were building up on balance sheets and it was worrying for some groups.

Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) said many community-childcare groups were pinned to the collar and most of their fundraising activities were used to pay rates.

Cllr Patrick Murphy (FF) said paying rates was adding to the cost of childcare, while his party colleague, Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe, said those groups that had paid in full should be entitled to some refund.

Cllr Des O’Grady (SF) agreed with a rebate for companies that have rates up to date. Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) said a national fund should be set up to repay those not in arrears, but Cllr Gerard Murphy said it was up to individual councils.

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