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Kildare Today

with Clem Ryan

Commercial Rates Incentive Scheme Faces Criticism As Strict Criteria Leads To Low Uptake And Numerous Refusals

Six applications have been either refused or withdrawn.

Strict criteria around the Commercial Rates Incentive Scheme is being blamed on low uptake and six refusals.

It's been argued that a Rates Waiver would have been more beneficial for local businesses.

The scheme, intended to spur activity by enticing businesses to occupy properties vacant for over two years, offers a rates-based payment spread across three years, with 75% of the rates charge covered in the first year, 50% in the second year, and 25% in the third year.

Since the inception of the Commercial Rates Incentive Grant Scheme in 2021 by Kildare County Council, a total of 23 applications have been received.

Of these, six applications have been either refused or withdrawn, while year one payments have been issued for four grants.

Additionally, six applications are currently in progress, pending further information.

In the year 2023, two new applications were submitted, while three applications are slated to commence year one payments in 2024.

Furthermore, two fresh applications have been received in the year 2024 and are currently undergoing validation.

Cllr Evie Sammon said the scheme is too restrictive.

She said: "I think there needs to be a complete overhaul of the rate system, probably across every county council in the country. But in Kildare, we need to look at the Rates Act, look at what has been commenced in that act, and see how we better charge businesses rates - whether that's varying it by town centre and out of town centre, and looking at Rate Waivers as well to support businesses."

She added: "The Commercial Rates Incentive Scheme was set up in 2021 as an alternative to a Rates Waiver for new businesses which were entering properties that had been empty for over two years."

"There has been 23 applications to date in County Kildare, six of which have been refused, which is quite a high refusal rate of them not meeting the criteria. So we need to go back and look again at our Rate Scheme and see where we can do best by business."

 

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