The commercial rates waiver must include businesses which continued to trade through the COVID-19 crisis, despite enduring significant trading impacts.
This is the view of the Galway Chamber, which is also calling for the extension of the three-month waiver period for businesses which have been forced to close by the pandemic.
On 2 May, the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, announced that the existing commercial rates deferral is to be replaced with the waiving of commercial rates for a three-month period, for businesses forced to close due to public health requirements.
'As it stands, the waiver has the possibility to act as an adverse incentive for businesses to remain closed for longer than may be necessary'
While the move was largely welcomed, Kenny Deery, CEO of Galway Chamber said, three months was "an inadequate period of support" and the term now needs to be expanded.
As a result, the chamber is calling on Minister Eoghan Murphy to "expand the scope of the commercial rates waiver", so it can apply to businesses which have been negatively impacted, "with a proportional rebate, rather than just businesses which have had to close".
Galway Chamber is proposing that the criteria of a 25 per cent decline in turnover should be the test for eligibility, as is the case with the Wage Subsidy Scheme. "As it stands," said Mr Deery, "the waiver has the possibility to act as an adverse incentive for businesses to remain closed for longer than may be necessary."
Mr Deery acknowledged that rates were "vital to allow local authorities provide necessary services", and called on the Government to provide greater support to the local authorities to replace this rates income for the time being.