Thurles Town Councillor Gerard Fogarty (Fianna Fáil) has welcomed the amendment to the Town Council Budget to include a 1.5 point cut in the AVR to 56.5. “With the huge pressures facing enterprise in Thurles particularly in and around Liberty Square I hope it would be a small incentive for new businesses while giving a small relief to current ones.
“I compliment the Town Clerk and his wonderful staff who have worked very hard throughout the year with less funding, and prepared a well considered draft budget; but I could not have supported a draft budget which merely froze the rates again this year.
“A failure to cut the rate this year would be particularly damning as the County Council lowered their rate by approximately 3 points. I think that in the context of the debate for the retention of Town Councils that it would have been particularly fatal for Thurles Town Council to have a rate higher than the County’s.
“I have often called for major reform of the rates legislation to allow local authorities more subjective powers locally to give incentives to start-ups and struggling businesses. There also needs to be tighter controls on the rates refund for landlords of vacant premises as an incentive to lower rent and attract new enterprises. In my opinion it acts as a disincentive at current.
“The personal debt crisis is severely hitting small businesses in addition to the credit crunch. I hear every week of credit refusal stories. Banks are escaping the eye of the Credit Review Office by recommending applicants not to even apply for credit. I would encourage business owners to contact the Credit Review Office which has been very successful in overturning more than 55% of completed applications sent to it since its establishment.”