RGDATA urges fair application of rates waiver
7 December 2021 | 0
RGDATA has written to Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage Peter Burke, calling on him to ensure that the Covid-19 Rates Waiver Scheme is applied fairly in communities.
The association wants to ensure that local shops with a significant food-to-go business are treated the same as pop-up coffee stalls and other food-to-go businesses.
In the letter, RGDATA director general Tara Buckley says the association has “received a significant number of representations from retailers who are deeply concerned at the manner in which the Rates Waiver Scheme is being applied by local authorities. They believe, with justification, that while waivers have been denied to retail businesses, they are being offered to direct trading competitors who provide categories of goods which fall under the eligible businesses designation.”
She adds that many of the shops that have been refused a rates waiver are effectively food hospitality businesses given that a substantial part of their turnover increasingly arises from sales associated with hot/cold deli, take away coffee/pastries and take away pizza/burgers.
“While the local authorities are placing specific reliance on the description of a specific business on the premise’s Valuation Certificate, there needs to be a recognition that in a dynamic and competitive business such as food retailing, particularly during such a fluid time, the actual usage and occupancy of a premise can change substantially over time to a point where the retail and food hospitality have become an intrinsically linked trading mix,” Buckley writes.
RGDATA has requested that the Department review the operation of the Rates Waiver Scheme as it applies to food retailers and allow local authorities some flexibility to admit retailers into the scheme where they can demonstrate that a substantial portion of their business comes from food hospitality.