::: Speaking about rates at the PAC on June 20
John tells Public Accounts Committee that revaluation process could leave local retail businesses on brink
Fine Gael TD John Deasy has called on the cabinet to immediately consider the potentially “catastrophic” implications of the rates revaluation process for retailers throughout Waterford city and county.
The Valuation Office has begun a systematic National Revaluation Programme based on a 2011 analysis of non-domestic rental values. Proposed Valuation Certificates have been issued to thousands of commercial and industrial ratepayers across Waterford over the past month.
With the average rateable increase in the retail sector locally around 40–50 per cent, “Make no mistake – people will be put out of business due to this revaluation,” Mr Deasy warned this week. “Many retailers are facing a doubling or even tripling of their commercial rates.
“The South East region has been worst affected by the recession, and the sector worst affected within that region – retail – is in danger of being crushed by this process.”
“In my home town of Dungarvan they are also potentially facing an increase as a result of the abolition of the Town Council and the harmonisation of Town Council rates with the higher County rate. Then there’s Waterford City, where there’s an enormous unemployment rate; approaching 30 per cent in parts.
“The South East region has been worst affected by the recession, and the sector worst affected within that region – retail – is in danger of being crushed by this process,” added Mr Deasy, who met the Commissioner for Valuation in Waterford at the weekend.
He also raised the issue at the Public Accounts Committee last Thursday, where he agreed with retail ratepayers that there’s “a massive disconnect between Dublin and what’s going on on the ground.”
While accepting “the people in the Valuation Office are merely doing their jobs,” Deputy Deasy maintains that “the legislation allowing for the revaluation doesn’t taken into account what’s after happening to the business community these last six or seven years.
“Self-employed people have ended up with massive personal debt and a far smaller customer base. This legislation made no provision for the changing economy. It was written in a different time economically.”
Deputy Deasy also points to the “macro-economic policy issues arising from this revaluation process. In many cases businesses have come to me and said, ‘We’re going to have to leave people off if I have to pay this bill’. That has an effect on the State spend when it comes to unemployment benefits and so on.”
And he insisted: “Someone in Government needs to attempt to understand the implications of rates revaluation. The Government can’t wash their hands of a measure that has the potential to wipe out another chunk of the retail sector.”