The revaluation programme, which determines the amount of commercial rates paid by businesses to local authorities, has been in place in Dublin since 2005, but it has still not been extended to the rest of the country.
“I raised this issue in the Dáil with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, this week.
“He agreed that the programme’s slow progress is affecting the competitiveness of businesses across the State.
“At a time when all businesses are trying to reduce costs, it’s hugely unfair that businesses in Cork and elsewhere are being penalised with higher rates simply because they haven’t yet had their premises revalued.
“The contrast is particularly stark in the hotel industry.
“There is a huge disparity between commercial rates being paid by comparable four-star hotels in Dublin and Cork. Dublin hotels, which have had their premises revalued by the Valuation Office, are paying an average of just over €1,000 per bedroom.
“But in Cork, where properties have not been revalued, hotels are paying rates of over €3,000 per bedroom.
“This is having a huge impact on the viability of Cork hotels.
“Minister Howlin has said that the Valuation Office has indicated that, given the slow progress with the national revaluation programme, it may be feasible to introduce some form of self-assessment for businesses.
“The outsourcing some of the revaluation process is also being considered.
“I am glad to hear the Valuation Office has submitted legislative proposals to the Minister to amend the Valuation Act 2001, with proposals expected to be brought to Government during this Dáil term.
“This issue needs to be progressed without delay.
“Many businesses are finding it extremely difficult to continue trading and retain staff in the current climate and it’s totally unfair that businesses should be discriminated against due to their geographical location.
“It is essential that changes are made to the revaluation programme to allow all commercial rates to be calculated in an equitable and transparent manner,” he said.