Retailers need additional finance to aid recovery

By Maurice Garvey

COMMERCIAL rates have plummeted due to Covid-19 but retailers will need additional financial supports to aid recovery, according to Retail Excellence.

The industry trade body wants local authorities to waive commercial rates for a year and provide grants equal to 60 per cent of rent during the period of emergency.

Cookstown Ind Estate 03 compressor

Businesses will need additional financial supports to aid recovery

South Dublin County Council recently said it expects a drop off in rates associated with temporary business closures associated with Covid-19 restrictions.

“It is too early to say what the extent of that will be or whether government will support business or alternatively local government in this regard,” said a spokesperson.

Meanwhile, last month, Dublin City Council said rates plummeted by €20 million due to the decline in business during coronavirus, with retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, the worst hit.

While a “massive financial injection” will be required to assist businesses get back on their feet, not all companies are in the same boat, according to Peter Byrne, CEO South Dublin Chamber.

“If you can pay a bill, you should pay. People assume all businesses have been closed but that’s not the case,” said Mr Byrne.

He cites three categories: those that remained open, those with lost income, and businesses devastated by Covid-19.

“It’s the principal of it. Rates are not a nice tax but when money is paid locally, by and large it goes back into the local area.”

In April, the Government and the County and City Management Association agreed that local authorities should defer rates payments due from businesses affected by Covid-19 for at least three months.

However, South Dublin Chamber are concerned that reduction of rates for local coffers could impact services local authorities usually provide.

Mr Byrne continued: “Three months off any bill is important for people who need it, and some will need extensive help. We’d be looking at hotels, restaurants, gyms, but it is unfair to have one tax bill. We need a massive financial injection.

“A big concern for deferments used to help bring back businesses back, is if the business doesn’t have the moment to pay them back.

“It has to be a total package to help business back on their feet. Not all businesses are in the same boat.”

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