Government outlines further measures to support businesses and local authorities impacted by Covid-19

The Government previously announced (1 May 2020) a programme to waive commercial rates for a three-month period, for businesses that have been forced to close for public health requirements. Today, (23 July, 2020) the Government has agreed an extension of this programme, to support both the local government sector and the ratepayers impacted by the Covid-19 emergency.

The Government recognises that businesses require significant additional supports and today’s extension aims to help businesses, by securing local jobs, ensuring the local businesses remain open to help our communities and economy bounce back.

Equally, the Government recognises that local authorities have faced an extraordinary period, with unprecedented financial and cash flow difficulties combined with an ever increasing need to provide vital public services.

To support both the local government sector and the ratepayers, a funding package of €600 million has been allocated by Government to fund the cost of a waiver for six months for businesses forced to close and businesses that experienced significant negative economic disruption due to public health restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19.  This will take the form of a credit in lieu of rates.

The six-month credit in lieu of rates will apply to all ratepayers for the period 27 March to 27 September 2020, with a limited number of exceptions. See not for Editors below.

Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Darragh O’Brien TD, said:

“The Government is committed to supporting businesses while also making sure our local authorities continue to provide vital services to the public. Today, I can confirm that commercial rates for those businesses forced to close due to public health requirements will be waived for a six-month period. To support local authorities in the continued delivery of services and in their ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis, this cost, expected to be approximately €600 million, will be met by the Exchequer.”

“The Government supports the vital work of our local authorities. Whether it is storm, blizzard or pandemic, our city and county councils are always there to provide the public with the key services they require. In these extraordinary times, when our economy closed, our local authorities remained open for business, ensuring vital public health measures and ongoing public service were provided. Today’s announcement of a six-month waiver for commercial rates will ensure that local authorities can continue to provide these services into the future.”

“Local authorities will also play a vital role in regenerating the post-COVID local economies and will engage with ratepayers to offer enterprise support, relevant to their circumstances. Details of the scheme will be further developed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, Peter Burke TD said:

“Local authorities across the country have huge experience dealing with difficult situations and will work to help keep ratepayers afloat and to restart their businesses following this crisis. Right now, some businesses just cannot pay these bills.  The measure announced today recognises the difficulties faced by businesses and support businesses and local authorities in reviving local economies in the aftermath of this crisis.”

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD said:

“The Government remains committed to supporting both local government and small and medium sized businesses. SMEs are the lifeblood of our towns and villages and employ hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country. These businesses have faced unprecedented challenges during this crisis and the future for them remains uncertain. Today’s €600 million commercial rates waiver for six months will support businesses, protect local government funding and help bring people back to work.