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December 4th, 2013 @ 09:31

Local Government Bill Must Not Increase Cost of Business

Chambers Ireland has today called on Government to ensure that the cost of doing business does not rise as a result of the Local Government Bill 2013. The call comes in advance of a meeting of the select Sub-committee on the Environment, Community and Local Government.

Speaking this morning, Chambers Ireland Deputy Chief Executive, Seán Murphy, said “The Local Government Bill provides a welcome opportunity for much needed reform of Local Government. Reforms that are focused on significantly reducing back office costs and delivering front line services for all consumers are welcome. The introduction of Municipal districts is a chance to address the excessive costs placed on many small businesses; however, aspects of the Bill give rise to worries that some costs may actually increase for business as a result.”

“Two key concerns for businesses under this Bill are commercial rates and increased charges such as parking in town centres. Where Town Councils are to be integrated into County Councils with higher commercial rates, the schedule for introducing a common rate band must be mandated to extend to ten years rather than a minimum of three years as is currently planned.”

“Of further worry to businesses in town centres is the planned funding model for the new Municipal Districts envisaged in the Bill. Chambers have major concerns that this model will incentivise the increasing of car parking charges in town centres. Set incorrectly, these charges act as a barrier to trade. New municipalities will effectively have their hands tied by provisions that penalize them from cutting parking fees. These provisions must be modified to enable Local Government to encourage consumers to shop in their local town centre rather than opting for out of town shopping venues with free parking facilities.”

“The reform of Local Government is a positive step forward but it must not be at the expense of business or the local economy,” he concluded.

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