The Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association is supporting the Irish Employers for Affordable Rates (IEAR) campaign which was formally launched on September 7th.
The IEAR campaign is supported by a number of trade associations and business groupings as well as many individual businesses. The campaign has three objectives:
- An amendment to the Valuation Act of 2001 to allow an employer to appeal a rates valuation due to a change in economic circumstances.
- The Government to take immediate action to reduce the overall cost of Local Government
- A more broadly based financing model for a reduced cost system of Local Government.
An independent report has been prepared on the subject by well known economist, Mr. Jim Power. The report states that commercial rates now represent a major burden for most small businesses and are increasingly forcing many small businesses out of existenc. As businesses close, a large part of the commercial rates base is eradicated.
The report says that the commercial rates system needs to be amended to recognise business realities. Alternative funding mechanisms must be created and the costs of running local authorities must be reduced. Local government must be rationalised in order to improve efficiency, reduce costs and eliminate duplication. The cost savings should be passed directly back to the business sector in the form of lower commercial rates and other State charges.
As in many ways text book examples of SMEs, FTMTA members are suffering from many of the same issues as the wider business community. Commercial rates are a major cost for FTMTA members who, given their location, are typically receiving very little by way of services from their local authorities but are paying high rates bills due to the necessary size of their premises.
Businesses can register their support of the IEAR campaign by going to the website at www.iear.ie and signing the online petition.