Chamber will not accept hike in commercial rates

Galway business will not accept any increase or ‘hike’ in commercial rates in the upcoming local authority budgets, and is instead calling for a reduction of at least 10 per cent.

This is the view of the Galway Chamber of Commerce which said that while City Hall and County are facing into challenging budgets, businesses in the city and county are also struggling and up to 8,000 jobs are at risk.

According to the chamber, bankruptcy is a looming problem for business, both small and large.

“Business already pays tax, commercial rates are an extra tax, levied solely on business,” the chamber said in a statement this week. “At a time when entrepreneurship is being encouraged this is a tax on initiative and on employment creation.”

Michael Coyle, the chamber CEO said there are c4,000 businesses in the city which could “realistically shed one job” because of the “punishing rates” they have to pay to City Hall.

“Wages to employees account for around 70 per cent of employers’ costs and it stands to reason that jobs will be lost if overheads are not reduced in a meaningful way,” he warned.

Mr Coyle also said he was “amazed” at recent reports on the budgetary process in City Hall, which speculated that there would be increased charges in council owned car parks, in water levies, and in the commercial rates.

“This would be both uncollectable and unsustainable,” he said. “It is no longer a matter of ‘Business won’t pay, now it’s Business can’t pay’.”

Mr Coyle said local authorities must look to cost cutting within their own organisations, broadening their income stream bases, and generally behaving like business in the private sector at this time.

“The Galway Chamber believes that nothing short of a reduction in this extra taxation on business will be acceptable,” he said. “A reduction in commercial rates would also increase the attractiveness of the greater Galway area as a region in which to locate a business, driving our local economy and creating employment.”


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