Commercial rates for businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will be waived for three months to help them get back on their feet as restrictions are lifted, and the shortfall in council funding will be made up by the government.
Businesses which have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic will not have to pay any commercial rates for a three month period from March 27.
This was one of a package of supports for businesses to help them restart and reconnect with their workers when Ireland begins its phased lifting of Covid-19 restrictions starting from May 18.
Other measures contained within the package include a €250 million fund offering €10,000 restart grants for micro and small businesses based on a rates/waiver rebate from 2019.
A €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms.
This applies to businesses with over €50 million in annual revenue or more than 250 employees.
SMEs will also benefit from a €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme which will offer loans at below market interest rates for terms between 3 months and 6 years.
These loans can range from €10,000 up to €1 million, and will be 80% guaranteed by the state.
The government is also ‘warehousing’ tax debt accrued by businesses during lockdown for a 12 month period after trading recommences.
No interest will accrue on this debt while it is warehoused, and no debt enforcement action will be taken by the Revenue during this time.
In total, the measures announced by the government today amount to €6.5 billion in support for businesses.
Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Eoghan Murphy said the commercial rates waiver will “provide relief to impacted businesses as well as certainty to local authorities as to their funding.
In Galway, revenue from commercial rates make up 38% of city spending, and 23% of the county’s.
The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe said that Covid-19 has created a world that “none of us could have imagined” a short while ago.
“Our collective public health has been targeted; our businesses, and our economy, have been shouldered with an unimaginable burden; and our society is grappling with this new reality.”
“But, by working together, we are minimising the damage. The hard work of the Irish people has ensured that we are getting to grips with this disease, our people are united in caring for one another under the most extreme of circumstances and our businesses are attempting to adapt to this new and most challenging environment.”
“This suite of measures being outlined today is designed to build confidence, further assist businesses in terms of the management of their companies, and allow them to begin looking to the future and start charting a path forward for weeks and months ahead.”
“We will continue to seek the best ways of supporting our people, and wider society, and rebuilding our economy so that we can get people back to work safely.”
“We will do this by being cognisant of official public health advice and doing what is in the best interests of all our people.”